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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science
       Vol. XI, No. 27, June, 1873

Author: Various

Release Date: August 16, 2004 [EBook #13195]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Sandra Brown and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team.

Transcriber's Note: The Table of Contents and the list of illustrations were added by the transcriber.




June, 1873.
Vol. XI., No. 27.



























NOTES. 723


Books Received. 728























[pg 609]



The New Year's debts are paid, the May-day moving is over and settled, and still a remnant of money is found sticking to the bottom of the old marmalade pot. Where shall we go?

There is nothing like the sea. Shall it be Newport?

But Newport is no longer the ocean pure and deep, in the rich severity of its sangre azul. We want to admire the waves, and they drag us off to inspect the last new villa: we like the beach, and they bid us enjoy the gardens, brought every spring in lace-paper out of the florist's shop. We like to stroll on the shore, [pg 610] barefooted if we choose, and Newport is become an affair of toilette and gold-mounted harness, a bathing-place where people do everything but bathe.


Well, Nahant, then, or Long Branch?

Too slow and too fast. Besides, we have seen them.

Suppose we try the Isles of Shoals? Appledore and Duck Island and White Island, now? Or Nantucket, or Marblehead?

Too stony, and nothing in particular to eat. You ask for fish, and they give you a rock.

In truth, under that moral and physical dyspepsia to which we bring ourselves regularly every summer, the fine crags of the north become just the least bit of a bore. They necessitate an amount of heroic climbing under the command of a sort of romantic and do-nothing Girls of the Period, who sit about on soft shawls in the lee of the rocks, and gather their shells and anemones vicariously at the expense of your tendon achilles. We know it, for we have suffered. We calculate, and are prepared to prove, that the successful collection of a single ribbon of ruffled seaweed, procured in a slimy haystack of red dulse at the beck of one inconsiderate girl, who is keeping her brass heels dry on a safe and sunny ledge of the Purgatory at Newport, may require more mental calculation, involve more anguish of equilibrium, and encourage more heartfelt secret profanity than the making of a steam-engine or the writing of a proposal.

No, no, we would admire nothing, dare nothing, do nothing, but only suck in rosy health at every pore, pin our souls out on the holly hedge to sweeten, and forget what we had for breakfast. Uneasy daemons that we are all winter, toiling gnomes of the mine and the forge—"O spent ones of a workday age"—can we not for one [pg 611] brief month in our year be Turks?


Our doctors, slowly acquiring a little sense, are changing their remedies. Where the cry used to be "drugs," it now is "hygiene." But hygiene itself might be changed for the better. We can imagine a few improvements in the materia medica of the future. Where the physician used to order a tonic for a feeble pulse, he will simply hold his watch thoughtfully for sixty seconds and prescribe "Paris." Where he was wont to recommend a strong emetic, he will in future advise a week's study of the works of art at our National Capital. For lassitude, a donkey-ride up Vesuvius. For color-blindness, a course of sunrises from the Rigi. For deafness, Wachtel in his song of "Di quella Pira." For melancolia, Naples. For fever, driving an ice-cart. But when the doctor's most remunerative patient comes along, the pursy manufacturer able to afford the luxury of a bad liver, let him consult the knob of his cane a moment and order "Atlantic City."

—Because it is lazy, yet stimulating. Because it is unspoilt, yet luxurious. Because the air there is filled with iodine and the sea with chloride of sodium. Because, with a whole universe of water, Atlantic City is dry. Because of its perfect rest and its infinite horizons.

But where and what is Atlantic City? It is a refuge thrown up by the continent-building sea. Fashion took a caprice, and shook it out of a fold of her flounce. A railroad laid a wager to find the shortest distance from Penn's treaty-elm to the Atlantic Ocean: it dashed into the water, and a City emerged from its freight-cars as a consequence of the manoeuvre. Almost any kind of a parent-age will account for Atlantis. It is beneath shoddy and above [pg 612] mediocrity. It is below Long Branch and higher up than Cape May. It is different from any watering-place in the world, yet its strong individuality might have been planted in any other spot; and a few years ago it was nowhere. Its success is due to its having nothing importunate about it. It promises endless sea, sky, liberty and privacy, and, having made you at home, it leaves you to your devices.


Two of our best marine painters in their works offer us a choice of coast-landscape. Kensett paints the bare stiff crags, whitened with salt, standing out of his foregrounds like the clean and hungry teeth of a wild animal, and looking hard enough to have worn out the painter's brush with their implacable enamel. From their treeless waste extends the sea, a bath of deep, pure color. All seems keen, fresh, beautiful and severe: it would take a pair of stout New England lungs to breathe enjoyably in such an air. That is the northern coast. Mr. William Richards gives us the southern—the landscape, in fact, of Atlantic City. In his scenes we have the infinitude of soft silver beach, the rolling tumultuousness of a boundless sea, and twisted cedars mounted like toiling ships on the crests of undulating sand-hills. It is the charm, the dream, the power and the peace of the Desert.

And here let us be indulged with a few words about a section of our great continent which has never been sung in rhyme, and which it is almost a matter of course to treat disparagingly. A cheap and threadbare popular joke assigns the Delaware River as the eastern boundary of the United States of America, and defines the out-landers whose homes lie between that current and the Atlantic Ocean as foreigners, Iberians, and we know not what. Scarcely more of an exile was Victor Hugo, sitting on the shores of Old Jersey, than is the denizen of New Jersey when he brings his half-sailor costume and his beach-learned manners into contrast with the thrift and hardness of the neighboring commonwealth. The native of the alluvium is another being from the native of the great mineral State. But, by the very reason of this difference, there is a [pg 613] strange soft charm that comes over our thoughts of the younger Jersey when we have done laughing at it. That broad, pale peninsula, built of shells and crystal-dust, which droops toward the south like some vast tropical leaf, and spreads its two edges toward the fresh and salt waters, enervated with drought and sunshine—that flat leaf of land has characteristics that are almost Oriental. To make it the sea heaved up her breast, and showed the whitened sides against which her tides were beating. To walk upon it is in a sense to walk upon the bottom of the ocean. Here are strange marls, the relics of infinite animal life, into which has sunk the lizard or the dragon of antiquity—the gigantic Hadrosaurus, who cranes his snaky throat at us in the museum, swelling with the tale of immemorial times when he weltered here in the sunny ooze. The country is a mighty steppe, but not deprived of trees: the ilex clothes it with its set, dark foliage, and the endless woods of pine, sand-planted, strew over that boundless beach a murmur like the sea. The edibles it bears are of the quaintest and most individual kinds: the cranberry is its native condiment, full of individuality, unknown to Europe, beautiful as a carbuncle, wild as a Tartar belle, and rife with a subacid irony that is like the wit of Heine.


Here is the patate douce, with every kind of sweet-fleshed gourd that loves to gad along the sand—the citron in its carved net, and the enormous melon, carnation-colored within and dark-green to blackness outside. The peaches here are golden-pulped, as if trying to be oranges, and are richly bitter, with a dark hint of prussic acid, fascinating the taste like some enchantress of Venice, the pursuit of whom is made piquant by a fancy that she may poison you. The farther you penetrate this huge idle peninsula, the more its idiosyncrasy is borne in on your mind. Infinite horizons, "an everlasting wash of air," the wild pure warmth of Arabia, and heated jungles of dwarf oaks balancing balmy plantations of pine. Then, toward the sea, the wiry grasses that dry into "salt hay" begin to dispute possession with the forests, and finally supplant them: the sand is blown into coast-hills, whose crests send off into every gale a foam of flying dust, and which themselves change shape, under pressure of the same winds, with a slower imitation of the waves. Finally, by [pg 614] the gentlest of transitions, the deserts and the quicksands become the ocean.


The shore melts into the sea by a network of creeks and inlets, edging the territory (as the flying osprey sees it) with an inimitable lacework of azure waters; the pattern is one of looping channels with oval interstices, and the dentellated border of the commonwealth resembles that sort of lace which was made by arranging on glass the food of a silk-spinning worm: the creature ate and wove, having voracity always before him and Fine Art behind him. Much of the solider part of the State is made of the materials which enter into glass-manufacture: a mighty enchanter might fuse the greater portion of it into one gigantic goblet. A slight approximation to this work of magic is already being carried on. The tourist who has crossed the lagoons of Venice to see the fitful lights flash up from the glass-furnaces of Murano, will find more than one locality here where leaping lights, crowning low banks of sand, are preparing the crystal for our infant industries in glass, and will remind him of his hours by the Adriatic. Every year bubbles of greater and greater beauty are being blown in these secluded places, and soon we hope to enrich commerce with all the elegances of latticinio and schmelze, the perfected glass of an American Venice.

But our business is not with the land, but the sea. Here it lies, basking at our feet, the warm amethystine sea of the South. It does not boom and thunder, as in the country of the "cold gray stones." On the contrary, saturating itself with sunny ease, thinning its bulk over the shoal flat beach with a succession of voluptuous curves, it spreads thence in distance with strands and belts of varied color, away and away, until blind with light it faints on a prodigiously far horizon. Its falling noises are as soft as the sighs of Christabel. Its colors are the pale and milky colors of the opal. But ah! what an impression of boundlessness! How the silver ribbon of beach unrolls for miles and miles! And landward, what a parallel sea of marshes, bottoms and dunes! The [pg 615] sense of having all the kingdoms of the world spread out beneath one, together with most of the kingdoms of the mermen, has never so come to one's consciousness before. And again, what an artist is Nature, with these faint washes and tenderest varied hues—varied and tender as the flames from burning gases—while her highest lights (a painter will understand the difficulty of that) are still diaphanous and profound!

One goes to the seaside not for pomp and peacock's tails, but for saltness, Nature and a bite of fresh fish. To build a city there that shall not be an insult to the sentiment of the place is a matter of difficulty. One's ideal, after all, is a canvas encampment. A range of solid stone villas like those of Newport, so far as congruity with a watering-place goes, pains the taste like a false note in music. Atlantic City pauses halfway between the stone house and the tent, and erects herself in woodwork. A quantity of bright, rather giddy-looking structures, with much open-work and carved ruffling about the eaves and balconies, are poised lightly on the sand, following the course of the two main avenues which lead parallel with the shore, and the series of short, straight, direct streets which leap across them and run eagerly for the sea. They have a low, brooding look, and evidently belong to a class of sybarites who are not fond of staircases. Among them, the great rambling hotel, sprawling in its ungainly length here and there, looks like one of the ordinary tall New York houses that had concluded to lie over on its side and grow, rather than take the trouble of piling on its stories standing. In this encampment of wooden pavilions is lived the peculiar life of the place.


We are sure it is a sincere, natural, sensible kind of life, as compared with that of other bathing-shores. Although there are brass bands at the hotels, and hops in the evening, and an unequal struggle of macassar oil with salt and stubborn locks, yet the artificiality is kept at a minimum. People really do bathe, really do take walks on the beach for the love of the ocean, really do pick up shells and throw them away again, really do go yachting and crab-catching; and if they try city manners in the evening, they are so tired with their honest day's work that it is apt to end in misery. On the hotel piazzas you see beauties that surprise you with exquisite touches of the warm and languid South. That dark Baltimore girl, her hair a constellation of jessamines, is beating her lover's shoulders with her fan in a state of ferocity that you would give worlds to encounter. That pair of proud Philadelphia sisters, statues sculptured in peach-pulp and wrapped in gauze, look somehow like twin Muses at the gates of a temple. Whole rows of unmatched girls stare at the sea, desolate but implacable, waiting for partners equal to them in social position. In such a dearth a Philadelphia girl will turn to her old music-teacher and flirt solemnly with him for a whole evening, sooner than involve herself with well-looking young chits from Providence or New York, who may be jewelers' clerks when at home. Yet the unspoiled and fruity beauty of these Southern belles is very striking to one who comes fresh from Saratoga and the sort of upholstered goddesses who are served to him there.

Some years ago the Surf House was [pg 616] the finest place of entertainment, but it has now many rivals, taller if not finer. Congress Hall, under the management of Mr. G.W. Hinkle, is a universal favorite, while the Senate House, standing under the shadow of the lighthouse, has the advantage of being the nearest to the beach of all the hotels. Both are ample and hospitable hostelries, where you are led persuasively through the Eleusinian mystery of the Philadelphia cuisine. Schaufler's is an especial resort of our German fellow-citizens, who may there be seen enjoying themselves in the manner depicted by our artist, while concocting—as we are warned by M. Henri Kowalski—the ambitious schemes which they conceal under their ordinary enveloppe débonnaire.


There is another feature of the place. With its rarely fine atmosphere, so tonic and bracing, so free from the depressing fog of the North, it is a great sanitarium. There are seasons when the Pennsylvania University seems to have bred its wealth of doctors for the express purpose of marshaling a dying world to the curative shelter of Atlantic City. The trains are encumbered with the halt and the infirm, who are got out at the doors like unwieldy luggage in the arms of nurses and porters. Once arrived, however, they display considerable mobility in distributing themselves through the three or four hundred widely-separated cottages which await them for hire. As you wander through the lanes of these cunning little houses, you catch strange fragments of conversation. Gentlemen living vis-à-vis, and standing with one leg in the grave and the other on their own piazzas, are heard on sunny mornings exciting themselves with the maddest abuse of each other's doctor. There are large boarding-houses, fifty or more of them, each of which has its contingent of puling valetudinarians. The healthy inmates have the privilege of listening to the symptoms, set forth with that full and conscientious detail not unusual with invalids describing their own complaints. Or the sufferers turn their batteries on each other. On the verandah of a select boarding-house we have seen a fat lady of forty lying on a bench like a dead harlequin, as she rolled herself in the triangles of a glittering afghan. On a neighboring seat a gouty subject, and a tropical sun pouring on both.

"Good-morning! You see I am trying my sun-bath. I am convinced it relieves my spine." The same remark has introduced seven morning conversations.

"And my gout has shot [pg 617] from the index toe to the ring toe. I feared my slipper was damp, and I am roasting it here. But, dear ma'am, I pity you so with your spine! Tried acupuncture?"


The patient probably hears the word as Acapulco. For she answers, "No, but I tried St. Augustine last winter. Not a morsel of good."

Among these you encounter sometimes lovely, frail, transparent girls, who come down with cheeks of wax, and go home in two months with cheeks of apple. Or stout gentlemen arriving yellow, and going back in due time purple.

Once a hardened siren of many watering-places, large and blooming, arrived at Atlantic City with her latest capture, a stooping invalid gentleman of good family in Rhode Island. They boated, they had croquet on the beach, they paced the shining sands. Both of them people of the world and past their first youth, they found an amusement in each other's knowing ways and conversation that kept them mutually faithful in a kind of mock-courtship. The gentleman, however, was evidently only amusing himself with this travesty of sentiment, though he was never led away by the charms of younger women. After a month of it he succeeded in persuading her for the first time to enter the water, and there he assisted her to take the billows in the gallant American fashion. Her intention of staying only in the very edge of the ocean he overruled by main force, playfully drawing her out where a breaker washed partially over her. As the water touched her face she screamed, and raised her arm to hide the cheek that had been wet. She then ran hastily to shore, and her friend, fearing some accident, made haste to rejoin her. His astonishment was great at finding one of her cheeks of a ghastly, unhealthy white. Her color had [pg 618] always been very high. That afternoon she sought him and explained. She was really an invalid, she said calmly, and had recently undergone a shocking operation for tumor. But she saw no reason for letting that interfere with her usual summer life, particularly as she felt youth and opportunity making away from her with terrible strides. Having a chance to enjoy his society which might never be repeated, fearing lest his rapid disease should carry him away from before her eyes, she had concluded to make the most of time, dissemble her suffering, and endeavor to conceal by art the cold bloodlessness of her face. This whimsical, worldly heroism happened to strike the gentleman strangely. He was affected to the point of proposing marriage. At the same time he perceived with some amazement that his disease had left him: the, curative spell of the region had wrought its enchantment upon his system. They were wedded, with roles reversed—he as the protector and she as the invalid—and were truly happy during the eighteen months that the lady lived as his wife.


There are prettier and more innocent stories. Every freckle-nosed girl from the Alleghany valleys who sweeps with her polka-muslin the floors of these generous hotels has an idyl of her own, which she is rehearsing with young Jefferson Jones or little Madison Addison. In the golden afternoons they ride together—not in the fine turn-outs supplied by the office-clerks, nor yet on horse-back, but in guiltless country wagons guided by Jersey Jehus, where close propinquity is a delightful necessity. Ten miles of uninterrupted beach spread before them, which the ocean, transformed for the purpose into a temporary Haussmann, is rolling into a marble boulevard for their use twice a day. On the hard level the wheels scarcely leave a trace. The ride seems like [pg 11] eternity, it lapses off so gentle and smooth, and the landscape is so impressively similar: everywhere the plunging surf, the gray sand-hills, the dark cedars with foliage sliced off sharp and flat by the keen east wind—their stems twisted like a dishclout or like the olives around Florence.


Or she goes with Jefferson and Madison on a "crabbing" hunt. Out in a boat at the "Thoroughfare," near the railroad bridge, you lean over the side and see the dark glassy forms moving on the bottom. It is shallow, and a short bit of string will reach them. The bait is a morsel of raw beefsteak from the butcher's, and no hook is necessary. They make for the titbit with strange monkey-like motions, and nip it with their hard skeleton ringers, trying to tuck it into their mouths; and so you bring them up into blue air, sprawling and astonished, but tenacious. You can put them through their paces where they roost under water, moving the beef about, and seeing them sidle and back on their aimless, Cousin Feenix-like legs: it is a sight to bring a freckle-nosed cousin almost into hysterics. But one day a vivacious girl had committed the offence of boasting too much of her skill in crab-catching, besides being quite unnecessarily gracious to Mr. Jefferson Jones. Then Mr. Madison Addison, who must have been reading Plutarch, did a sly thing indeed. The boat having been drawn unnoted into deeper water, a cunning negro boy who was aboard contrived to slide down one side without remark, and the next trophy of the feminine chase was a red boiled crab, artificially attached to a chocolate caramel, and landed with mingled feelings by the pretty fisherwoman. Then what a tumult of laughter, feigned anger and becoming blushes! It is said that that crimson shell, carved into a heart-shape of incorrect proportions, is worn over Mr. Jones's diaphragm to this day.

At the Inlet, which penetrates the beach alongside the lighthouse, is draught for light vessels, and the various kinds of society which focus at Atlantic City may be seen concentrated there on the wharf any of these bright warm days. A gay party of beauties and aristocrats, [pg 620] with a champagne-basket and hamper of lunch, are starting thence for a sail over to Brigantine Beach. Two gentlemen in flannel, with guns, are urging a little row-boat up toward the interior country. They will return at night laden with rail or reed-birds, with the additional burden perhaps of a great loon, shot as a curiosity. Others, provided with fishing-tackle, are going out for flounder. Laughing farewells, waving handkerchiefs and the other telegraphic signs of departure, are all very gay, but the tune may be changed when the great sailing-party comes back, wet and wretched, and with three of the principal beauties limp as bolsters on the gentlemen's hands with sea-sickness.

Another spirited scene takes place at five in the morning—an hour when the city beauties are abed with all that tenacity of somnolence which characterizes Kathleen Mavourneen in the song. The husbands and brothers, who are due in the city before business hours, are out for a good, royal, irresponsible tumble in the surf. There is the great yeasty bath-tub, full of merry dashing figures, dipping the sleek shoulder to the combing wave. On the shore, active humanities hastily undressing. Then the heavens are filled with a new glory, and the dazzling sun leaves his bath at the same time with all these merry roisterers who have shared it with him. He takes up his line of business for the day, and so do the good husbands and brothers, first going through a little ceremony of toilet from which he is exempt.

Thus does the New Atlantis provide for her republic, holding health to her children with one hand, and shaking from the other an infinity of toys and diversions; while for those of more thoughtful bent the sea turns without ceasing its ancient pages, written all over with inexhaustible romance.

The great architect of the city was the Power who graded those streets of immaculate sand, and who laid out that park of mellow, foam-flowered ocean. Its human founders have done what seemed suitable in providing shelter for a throng of fitful sojourners, not forgetting to put up six neat and modest churches, where suitable praise and adoration may be chanted against the chanting of the sea. In several respects the place grows somewhat curiously. For instance, a lawn of turf is made by the simple expedient of fencing off the cattle: the grass then grows, but if the cows get in they pull up the sod by the roots, and the wind in a single season excavates a mighty hollow where the grassy slope was before. So much for building our hopes on sand. An avenue of trees is prepared by the easy plan of thrusting willow-stems into the ground: they sprout directly, and alternate with the fine native cedars and hollies in clothing the streets with shadow. Several citizens, as Mr. Richard Wright and Mr. Thomas C. Hand, whose handsome cottages are tasteful specimens of our seaside architecture, have been tempted by this facility of vegetable life at Atlantic City to lay out elaborate gardens, which with suitable culture are successful. Fine avenues of the best construction lead off to Shell Beach or to the single hill boasted by the locality. Finally, remembering the claims of the great democracy to a wash-basin, the aediles invited Tom, Dick and Harry, and set up the Excursion or Sea-View House, with its broad piazzas, its numberless facilities for amusement, and its enormous dining-hall, which can be changed on occasion into a Jardin Mabille, with flowers and fountains.

To a great city all the renovating and exhilarating qualities of sea-breezes and sea-bathing are but as the waters of Tantalus, unless the place which offers these advantages be easy of access. In this respect Atlantic City has for Philadelphia a superiority over all its rivals. The Camden and Atlantic Railroad, to whose secretary and treasurer, Mr. D.M. Zimmermann, we are indebted for much information, has simply drawn a straight line to the coast, which may be reached in an hour and three-quarters from Vine street wharf. The villages on the route, like the seaside terminus, owe their existence to the road, which is now reaping the reward of a far-sighted enterprise.

[pg 621]




A noble life, whose course belongs to the subject of these pages, is, while they are preparing, apparently drawing to a close. The severe illness now reported of Abd-el-Kader, coming upon old age, disappointment, war and the lassitude of a great purpose foiled, can have but one result. Dimmed to-day, as our hurrying century so rapidly dims her brightest renowns, Abd-el-Kader's existence has only to cease and his memory will assume the sacred splendor of the tomb.

Hapless Washington of a betrayed revolution! In these latter days of enforced quiet in Palestine how his early scenes of African experience must have flooded his mind!—his birth, sixty-six years ago, in a family group of Moslem saints; the teachings of his beautiful mother Leila and of his marabout father; his pilgrimage when eight years old to Mecca, and his education in Italy; his visions among the tombs, and the crown of magic light which was seen on his brows when he began to taste the enchanted apple; then, with adolescence, the burning sense of infidel tyranny that made his home at Mascara seem only a cage, barred upon him by the unclean Franks; and soon, while still a youth, his amazing election as emir of Mascara and sultan of Oran, at a moment when the prophet-chief had just four oukias [pg 622] (half-dimes) tied into the corner of his bornouse!

"God will send me others," said young Abd-el-Kader.


The tourist remembers the trinity-portrait of him, by Maxime David, in the Luxembourg Gallery at Paris, where his face, framed in its white hood, is seen in full, in profile and in three-quarters view. The visage is aquiline, olive-tinted, refined; but we can describe it more authentically in the terms of one of his enemies, Lieutenant de France, who became his prisoner in 1836, and [pg 623] who followed his movements for five months, taking down his daily talk and habits like a Boswell, but leaving nothing in his narrative that is not to the sultan's credit. Of Abd-el-Kader at twenty-eight the lieutenant says: "His face is long and deadly pale, his large black eyes are soft and languishing, his mouth small and delicate, and his nose rather aquiline: his beard is thin, but jet-black, and he wears a small moustache, which gives a martial character [pg 624] to his soft, delicate face, and becomes him vastly. His hands are small and exquisitely formed, and his feet equally beautiful." Every interlocutor leaves a similar portrait, impressing upon the mind the image of some warrior-saint of the Middle Ages, born too late, and beating out his noble fanaticism against our century of machines and chicanery.


Himself, according to some accounts, a Berber, the young marabout early saw the importance of inducing the Kabyles to join with him and his Arabs in expelling the French. He affiliated himself with the religious order of Ben-abd-er-Rhaman, a saint whose tomb is one of the sacred places of Kabylia; and it is certain that the college of this order furnished him succor in men and money. He visited the Kabyles in their rock-built villages, casting aside his military pomp and coming among them as a simple pilgrim. If the Kabyles had received him better, he could have shown a stouter front to the enemy. But the mountain Berbers, utterly unused to co-operation and subordination, met him with surprise and distrust.


At least, such is the account of General Daumas: in this interesting relation we are forced to depend on the French. Daumas, amply provided with documents, letters and evidence, has arranged in his work on La Grande Kabylie the principal evidence we possess of this epoch of Abd-el-Kader's life.

The chief appeared in 1836 at Bordj-Boghni and at Si-Ali-ou-Moussa among the mountains. The Kabyle tribes visited him in multitudes. He addressed them at the door of his tent, and these rude mountaineers found themselves face to face with that saintly sallow visage, those long gazelle eyes and the prophetic countenance framed in its apostolic beard. Raising his arms in the attitude of Raphael's Paul at Lystra, he said simply, "I am the thorn which Allah has placed in the eye of the Franks. And if you will help me I will send them weeping into the sea."

But when it came to a demand for [pg 625] supplies, the Kabyles, says Daumas, utterly refused.

"You have come as a pilgrim," said their amins, "and we have fed you with kouskoussu. If you were to come as a chief, wishing to lay his authority on us, instead of white kouskoussu we should treat you to black kouskoussu" (gunpowder).

Abd-el-Kader, without losing the serenity of the marabout, argued with the Kabyles, and succeeded in obtaining their reverence and adhesion; but when he mounted his horse to go the amins significantly told him to come among them always as a simple pilgrim, demanding hospitality and white kouskoussu.


At Thizzi-Ouzzou he met the tribe of Ameraouas, who promised to submit to his authority as soon as the fractions surrounding that centre should do so. The Sons of Aicha received him with honor and games of horsemanship. At the camp of Ben Salem the chiefs of several tribes came to render homage to the noble marabout, descendant of Berber ancestry and of the Prophet. From thence he sought tribes still more wild, discarding his horse and appearing among the villagers as a simple foot-pilgrim. The natives approached him in throngs, each family bearing a great dish of rancid kouskoussu. Laying the platters before his tent and planting their clubs in them, all vociferated, "Eat! thou art our guest;" and the chieftain was constrained to taste of each. Finally, near Bougie he happened to receive a courier sent by the French commandant. The Kabyles immediately believed him to be in treasonable communication with the enemy, and he was forced to retire.

The young chief was in fact at that time in peaceful communication with the French, having made himself respected by them in the west, while they were [pg 626] attending to the subjugation of Constantina and founding of Philippeville in the east. Protected by the treaty of Taafna in 1837, Abd-el-Kader was at leisure to attempt the consolidation of his little empire and the fusion of the jealous tribes which composed it. The low moral condition of his Arabs, who were for the most part thieves and cowards, and the rude individuality of his Kabyles, who would respect his religious but scoff at his political claims, made the task of the leader a difficult one. To the Kabyles he confided the care of his [pg 627] saintly reputation, renouncing their contributions, and asking only for their prayers as a Berber and as a khouan of the order of Ben-abd-er-Rhaman. For a few years his power increased, without one base measure, without any soilure on the blazon of increasing prosperity. In 1840 the sultan of Oran, at the zenith of his influence, swept the plains beneath the Atlas with his nomad court, defended by two hundred and fifty horsemen. Passing his days in reviewing his troops and in actions of splendid gallantry, he resumed the humility of the saint at evening prayers: his palace of a night received him, watched by thirty negro tent-guards; and here he sheltered his lowly head, whose attitude was perpetually bowed by the habitual weight of his cowl. The French soon became jealous, and encroached upon their treaty. The duke of Orleans, we are told, had Abd-el-Kader's seal counterfeited by a Jewish coiner at Oran, and with passports thus stamped sent scouting-parties toward the sultan's dominions, protected by the sultan's forged safe-conduct. Open conflict followed, and a succession of French razzias. In 1845, Colonels Pelissier and St. Arnaud, under Marshal Bugeaud, conducted that expedition of eternal infamy during which seven hundred of Abd-el-Kader's Arabs were suffocated in a cave-sanctuary of the Dahra. This sickening measure was put in force at a cul-de-sac, where a few hours' blockade would have commanded a peaceful surrender.


"The fire was kept up throughout the night, and when the day had fully dawned the then expiring embers were kicked aside, and as soon as a sufficient time had elapsed to render the air of the silent cave breathable, some soldiers were directed to ascertain how matters were within. They were gone but a few minutes, and then came back, we are told, pale, trembling, terrified, hardly daring, it seemed, to confront the light of day. No wonder they trembled and looked pale! They had found all the Arabs dead—men, women, children, all dead!—had beheld them lying just as death had found and left them—the old man grasping his gray beard; the dead mother clasping her dead child with the steel gripe of the last struggle, when all gave way but her strong love."

Abd-el-Kader's final defeat in 1848 was due less to the prowess of Lamoricière and Bugeaud than to the cunning of his traitorous ally, the sultan of Morocco, who, after having induced many of the princely saint's adherents to desert, finally drove him by force of numbers over the French frontier. Confronting the duke of Aumale on the Morocco borders, he made a gallant fight, but lost half his best men in warding off an attack of the Mencer Kabyles. Fatigued now with a long effort against overwhelming pressure, and world-weary, he met the duke at Nemours, on the sea-coast close to the Morocco line. Depositing his sandals, Arab-fashion, outside the French head-quarters, he awaited the duke's signal to sit down.

"I should have wished to do this sooner," said the broken chief, "but I have awaited the hour decreed by Allah. I ask the aman (pardon) of the king of the French for my family and for myself."

Louis Philippe could not come in contact with this pure spirit without an exhibition of Frankish treachery, like tinder illuminating its foulness at the striking of steel. The sultan's surrender was conditioned on the freedom to retire to Egypt. The French government no sooner secured him than it treacherously sent him to prison, first to the castle of Pau, then to that of Amboise near Blois, where he was kept from 1848 to 1852, when the late emperor made an early use of his imperial power to set him at liberty. Since his freedom, at Constantinople, Broussa and Damascus the ex-sultan has continued to practice the rigors and holiness of the Oriental saint, proving his catholic spirit by protecting the Christians from Turkish injustice, and awaiting with the deep fatigue of a martyr the moment destined to unite his soul with the souls of Washington, Bozzaris and L'Ouverture.

This noble life, which impinges a moment on our course through Kabylia, is [pg 628] surely the most epical of our century, which can never be reproached for the lack of a hero while Abd-el-Kader's name is remembered.


The descent from the rock-perched city of Kalaa having been made in safety, and the animals being remounted at the first plateau, our Roumi traveler and his guides arrive in a few hours at the modern, fortified, but altogether [pg 629] Kabylian stronghold of Akbou. Here a letter from a French personage of importance gives us the acquaintance of a Kabyle family of the highest rank.

The ancestors of Ben-Ali-Cherif, remotely descended from Mohammed through one of his sisters, were of Kabylian race, and one of them, settled in Chellata, near Akbou, founded there a prosperous college of the Oriental style. Ben-Ali-Cherif, born in Chellata and residing at Akbou, receives the tourist with a natural icy dignity which only a czar among the sovereigns of Europe could hope to equal: those who have but seen Arabs of inferior class can form no notion of the distinction and lofty gravity of the chiefs of a grand house (or of a grand tent, as they are called): the Kabyle noble is quite as superb as the Arab.

Ben-Ali seats us at a rich table covered with viands half French and half Oriental: a beautiful youth, his son, resembling a girl with his blue head-drapery and slim white hands, places himself at table, and attracts the conversation of the guest. The young man answers in monosyllables and with his large eyes downcast, and the agha significantly observes, "You will excuse him if he does not answer: he is not used to talk before his father."

The host, disposing of the time of his guests, has arranged a series of diversions. The valley of the river Sahel is full of boars, and panthers and monkeys abound in the neighboring spurs of the Zouaouas. While the Roumi are examining his orchards of oranges and pomegranates the agha's courtyard fills with guests, magnificent sheikhs on Barbary horses, armed with inlaid guns. These are all entertained for the night, together with the usual throng of parasites, who choke his doors like the clients of the rich Roman in Horace.

At sunrise the party is mounted. The mare of the agha, a graceful creature whose veins form an embroidery over her coat of black satin, is caparisoned with a slender crimson bridle, and a saddle smaller than the Arab saddles and furnished with lighter stirrups. The Christian guests are furnished with veritable arquebuses of the Middle Ages; that is to say, with Kabyle guns, the stock of which, flattened and surmounted with a hammer of flints, is ignited by a wheel-shaped lock, easier to be managed by a Burgundian under Charles the Bold than by an unpretending modern Roumi.

The usual features of an Algerian hunt succeed. A phantom-like silence pervades the column of galloping horsemen up to the moment when the boar is beaten up. Then, with a formidable clamor of "Haou! haou!" from his pursuers, the tusked monster bursts through the tamarinds and dwarf palms: after a long chase he suddenly stops, and then his form instantly disappears under the gigantic African hounds who leap upon him and hang at his ears. A huntsman dismounts and stabs his shoulder with the yataghan. After a rest the chase is resumed, but this time under the form of a hawking-party.

Only the djouads and marabouts—that is to say, the religious or secular nobles—have the privilege of hunting with the falcon. The patrician bird, taken by the agha from the shoulder of his hawk-bearer, is about as large as a pigeon, the head small, beak short and strong, the claws yellow and armed with sharp talons. The bird rides upon his master's leather glove until a hare is started: then, unhooded and released, his first proceeding is to dart into the zenith as if commissioned to make a hole in the sky. No fear, however, that the poor panting quarry is lost for an instant from the vision of that infallible eye, which follows far aloft in the blue, invisible and fatal. Soon the cruel bird drops like an aërolite, and, as the deed is explained to us, doubles up his yellow hand into a fist, and deals the animal a sharp blow on the skull. Directly, as the horsemen approach, he is found with his obtuse head bent over his prey, digging out its eyes by the spoonful.

By noontide the troop is naturally famished. A luncheon, has, however, been prepared by the thoughtfulness of the agha. Riding up to a tent which [pg 630] appears as by magic in the wilderness, the provisions for a sumptuous repast are discovered. Two fires are burning in the open air, and are surrounded by a host of servants or followers. The Roumi and their host adjourn from the neighborhood of the preparations, and are served under a plane tree beautiful as [pg 631] that whose limbs were hung by Xerxes with bracelets. A soup, absolutely set on fire with red pepper, introduces the repast: pancakes follow, and various meats smothered with eggs or onions. Then two half-naked cooks stagger up bearing on a wooden dish, under a gold-bordered napkin, a sheep roasted entire and still impaled with the spit. The chief cook takes hold of the skewer and draws it violently toward himself, applying a smart stroke with his naked heel to the tail of the creature—a contact which would seem almost as trying as the ancient ordeal of the ploughshares, or as the red-hot horseshoes which the fire-eating marabouts are accustomed to dance upon. The Roumi travelers taste the succulent viand, taste again, eat till ashamed, and are ready to declare that never was mutton properly dressed before. If possible, they vow to introduce the undissected roast, the bonfire, the spit and the cook with imperturbable heel into the cuisine of less-favored lands more distant from the sun.


Champagne, which the cunning Mussulmans do not consider as wine, washes the meal, and coffee and pale perfumed tobacco supplement it. But when the appetite has retired and permitted some sharpness to the ordinary senses, the travelers are amazed at the gradual and silent increase which has taken place in their numbers. Every group of guests is augmented by a circle of prone and creeping forms that, springing apparently from the earth, are busily breaking the fragments of the feast under the care of the servitors, who appear, rather to encourage than repel them. Ben-Ali-Cherif, being interrogated, replies calmly, "They are Tofailians."

The Tofailian is a parasite on system, an idler who elevates his belly into a divinity, or at least a principle. His prophet or exemplar is a certain Tofail, whose doctrine is expressed in a few practical rules, respectfully observed and numerously followed. "Let him who attends a wedding-feast," says one of his apophthegms, "having no invitation, avoid glancing here and there dubiously. Choose the best place. If the guests are numerous, pass through boldly without saluting any one, to make the guests of the bride think you a friend of the bridegroom, and those of the groom a friend of the bride."

An Arab poet said of Tofail: "If he saw two buttered pancakes in a cloud, he would take his flight without hesitation."

A Tofailian of marked genius once learned that a festival was going on at a grand mansion. He ran thither, but the door was closed and entrance impossible. Inquiring here and there, he learned that a son of the house was absent on the Mecca pilgrimage. Instantly he procured a sheet of parchment, folded it, and sealed it as usual with clay: he rolled his garments in the dust and bent his spine painfully over a long staff. Thus perfect in what an actor would call his reading, he sent word to the host that a messenger had arrived from his son. "You have seen him?" said the delighted Amphitryon, "and how did he bear his fatigues?" "He was in excellent health," answered the Tofailian very feebly. "Speak, speak!" cried the eager father, "and tell me every detail: how far had he got?" "I cannot, I am faint with hunger," said the simple fellow. Directly he was seated at the highest place of the feast, and every guest admired that splendid appetite—an appetite quite professional, and cultivated as poulterers cultivate the assimilative powers of livers. "Did my son send no letter?" asked the poor father in a favorable interval caused by strangulation. "Surely," replied the good friend, and, comprehending that the critical moment had arrived, he drew to himself a chine of kid with one hand while he unwound the letter from his turban with the other. The seal was still moist, and the pilgrim had not found time to write anything on the parchment. "Are you a Tofailian?" asked the host with the illumination of a sudden idea. "Yea, in truth, verily," said the stranger, struggling with his last mouthful. "Eat, then, and may Sheytan trouble thy digestion!" The parasite was shown the door, but he had dined.

[pg 632]

Men of rank and wealth, like Ben-Ali-Cherif, turn the Tofailian into a proverb, and thus laugh at a plague they cannot cure.


The Algerine coast has enriched our language with at least two words, respectively warlike and peaceful—razzia and fantasia. The latter is applied to a game of horsemanship, used to express joy or to honor a distinguished friend. A spirited fantasia is organized by the guests of the agha on returning to Akbou. Twenty of the best-mounted horsemen having gone on before, and being completely lost to sight in the whirlwind of dust created by their departure, all of a sudden reappear. Menacing their host and his companions like an army, they gallop up, their bornouses flying and their weapons flashing, until at a few paces they discharge their long guns under the bodies of the horses opposite, and take flight like a covey of birds. Loading as they retire and quickly forming, again they dash to the charge, shouting, galloping, and shooting among the legs of their host's fine horses: this sham attack is repeated a score or two of times, up to the door of the agha's house. The Bedouins, in their picturesque expression, are making the powder talk. Finer horsemanship can nowhere be seen. Their horses, accustomed to the exercise, enter into the game with spirit, and the riders, [pg 633] secure in their castellated saddles, sit with ease as they turn, leap or dance on two feet. Used, too, from infancy to the society of their mares, they move with them in a degree of unity, vigor and boldness which the English horseman never attains. The Arab's love for his horse is not only the pride of the cavalier: it is an article of faith, and the Prophet comprehended the close unity between his nation and their beasts when he said, "The blessings of this world, up to the day of judgment, shall be suspended to the locks which our horses wear between their eyes."


Truly the Oriental idea of hospitality has its advantages—on the side of the obliged party. This haughty ruler, on the simple stress of a letter from a French commandant, has made himself our servant and teased his brain for devices to amuse us. His chief cook precedes us to his birthplace at Chellata, to arrange a sumptuous Arab supper. After a ride made enervating by the simoom, we descend at the arcaded and galleried Moorish house where Ben-Ali-Cherif was born, and are visited by the sheikh of the college which the agha maintains. It is a strange, peaceful, cloistered scene, consecrated to study and hospitality. Chellata, white and silent, sleeps in the gigantic shadow of the rock Tisibert, and in its graveyard, among the tombs of sacred marabouts, walk the small bald-headed students reciting passages of law or of the Koran. Algeria is dotted over with institutions (zaouias) similar to this, which, like monasteries of old, combine the functions of seminaries and gratuitous inns. That of Ben-Ali-Cherif, to which he contributes from his own purse a sum [pg 634] equal to sixteen thousand dollars a year, is enshrined in buildings strewn around the resting-place of his holy ancestors. The sacred koubba (or dome) marking the bones of the marabout is swept by shadows of oak and tamarind trees: professors stray in the shadow, and the pupils con their tasks on the adjoining tombstones.

Every impression of Chellata is silvered over, as with a moonlight of beneficence, by the attentions of Ben-Ali's house-steward, who rains upon our appetites a shower of most delicious kouskoussu, soothes us with Moorish coffee, and finishes by the politeness of lighting and taking the first whiff of our cigarette—a bit of courtesy that might be spared, but common here as in parts of Spain.

With daybreak we find the town of Chellata preparing to play its rôle as a mart or place of industry. The labor seems at first sight, however, to be confined to the children and the women: the former lead the flocks out at sunrise to pasture in the mountain, the women make the town ring with their busy work, whether of grinding at the mill, weaving stuff or making graceful vases in pottery. The men are at work in the fields, from which they return at nightfall, sullen, hardy and silent, in their tattered haiks. These are never changed among the poor working-people, for the scars of a bornouse are as dignified as those of the body, and are confided with the garment by a father to his son. The women, as we have remarked before, are in a state of far greater liberty than are the female Arabs, but it is more than anything else the liberty to toil. Among these mountaineers the wife is a chattel from whom it is permissible to extract all the usefulness possible, and whom it is allowable to sell when a bargain can be struck. The Kabyle woman's sole recreation is her errand to the fountain. This is sometimes situated in the valley, far from the nodding pillar or precipice on which the town is built. There the traveler finds the good wives talking and laughing together, bending their lively—sometimes blonde and blue-eyed—faces together over their jars, and gossiping as in Naples or as in the streets around Notre Dame in Paris. The Kabyles—differing therein from the Arabs—provide a fountain for either sex; and a visit by a man to the women's fountain is charged, in their singular code of penal fines, "inspired by Allah," a sum equal to five dollars, or half as much as the theft of an ox.

By the white light of day-dawn we quit Chellata, with the naked crests of the Djurjura printing themselves on the starry vault behind us and the valley below bathed in clouds. As we descend we seem to waken the white, red-roofed villages with our steps. The plateaus are gradually enlivened with spreading herds and men going forth to labor. We skirt the precipice of Azrou-n'hour, crowned with its marabout's tomb. The plains at our feet are green and glorious, pearled with white, distant villages. Opposite the precipice the granite rocks open to let us pass by a narrow portal where formerly the Kabyles used to stand and levy a toll on all travelers. This straitened gorge, where snow abounds in winter, and which has various narrow fissures, is named the Defile of Thifilkoult: it connects the highways of several tribes, but is impassable from December to April from the snow and the storms which rage among the cliffs. We are still four thousand feet above the plain, whose depth the swimming eye tries in vain to fathom, yet the snowy peaks above us are inaccessible. Descending chains of rocks mingled with flint and lime, we attain a more clement landscape. Kabyle girls crowd around a well called the Mosquitoes' Fountain, a naked boy plays melancholy tunes on a reed, and the signs of a lower level are abundant in the fields of corn and orchards of olive. But the rugged mountains, in whose grasp we have found so many wonders, are not left without regret. The most picturesque part of our course is now behind us, and as day dies upon our crossing through Iferaouenen, we turn back to behold the fine line of the mountains, half sad and regretful,

While Jove's planet rises yonder, silent over Africa.

[pg 635]

Fourteen expeditions were found necessary by the French between 1838 and 1857 to subdue the Kabyles, who under leaders such as Ben-Salem, Ben-Kassim, the Man-with-the-Mule, the Man-with-the-She-Ass, and other chiefs less celebrated, defended their territory step by step. In the great chastisement of 1857, Marshal Randon, after subduing this part of the Djurjura ridge in detail, determined to preserve the fruits of victory by two new constructions—a fort and a military road. France was to reside among her unwilling colonists, and she was to possess an avenue of escape. The building of these two conveniences, as we may call them, over the smoking ruins of victory, was a conspicuous example of the excellent engineering genius of the nation. An English officer, Lieutenant-colonel Walmsley, witnessed, and has left a spirited account of, the great conquest, and the immediate improvement of it. The strongholds of the Djurjura (it being May, 1857) were taken: the most difficult, Icheriden, was soon to fall, yielding only to the assault of the Foreign Legion—that troop of Arabs and of Kabyles from the Zouaoua plain wherefrom we derive the word zouave. Marshal Randon selected for his fort the key of the whole district: it was a place known as the Souk-el-Arba ("Market of Wednesday"). It was in the heart of the Beni Raten land, and in a spot where three great mountain-ridges ran down into the plain of the Sebaou. These ridges, subdued and friendly, would be held in respect by the garrison of the fort, and the other ridge of Agacha, still rebellious, would likewise terminate at the fort. The works were immediately laid out and quickly built. As the road sprang into its level flight like magic, the peeping Kabyles, perfectly unaware that they were conquered, laughed in derision. "It is to help the cowards to run away," they said. In due time rose the pale walls of the citadel, with mountains above and hills below. The Kabyles call it the White Phantom. Their songs, the "traditions" of illiterate tribes, recite the building of the terrible stronghold: "The Roumi has arrived at the Market: he is building there. Weep, O my eyes! tears of blood. The children of Raten are valiant men: they are known as masters of the warlike art. They fell upon the enemy at Icheriden. The Franks fell like lopped branches. Glory to those brave men! But the Roumi has peeled us like seeds. The powder talks no more. The warlike men are fainting. Cover thyself with mourning, O my head!"

As the tourist turns the summit of Aboudid suddenly appears, like an ornamental detail in a panorama, this vast fortress, originally named Fort Napoléon, and since the collapse of the empire called Fort National. During the French troubles of 1871, in the month of August, General Cérès was obliged to inspire terror by burning the village of Thizzi-Ouzzou beneath, and then went on to relieve the fort. When the next opportunity will occur for the Beni Raten to assert their rights it is impossible to tell. We descend from the fort, and all becomes commonplace. The charred ruins of Thizzi-Ouzzou in its valley-bed are being replaced by new buildings. All wears a look of every-day thrift. The Arab, moving his household goods, drives before him his poor dingy wife, loaded down with worthless valuables and also with copper jewels, in which she clanks like a fettered slave. A negro musician from the Desert, a true African minstrel, capers before us and beats the tom-tom, until, distracted with his noise, we pay him and bombard him off the face of the road with projectiles.

From Thizzi-Ouzzou to Algiers it is but four hours' journey, and the four hours are passed in a diligence. Yes, our circumstances are subdued to the conditions of the diligence! Adieu, our spahi guides, like figures from Lalla Rookh! Adieu, our dream of an African Switzerland! The Roumi, outside of Kabylia, quickly fades into the light of common day, and becomes plain Tom or Harry.

[pg 636]


"And you traveled alone?"

"There were two of us—Annie Foster and I."

"You found no difficulty?"

"Not a bit," she replied laughing.

"But you had adventures: I see it in your face."

"Who would travel without adventures?" and she made an expressive gesture.


"Hm!—tant soit peu."

"I am all attention: begin."

"You promise not to tell?"

"Not for the world: torture could not induce me to divulge a single word."

"Well, the way it came about was this: Annie and I had been sent from England to a small French town on the coast, for the benefit of the warm sea-water baths. It was a quaint little port; all the houses reminded you of ships in their fitting up; the beds were set into the wall like berths; closets were stowed away in all sorts of impossible places; the floors were uncarpeted and white as a main deck; and articles from distant countries hung about the walls or stood in the corners—East Indian sugar-cane, cotton from America, Chinese crockery and piles of sea-shells. The great sea by which we lodged was represented everywhere. Our food was fish, shrimps and water-fowl—our acquaintance, fishermen, shrimpers and sailors. The leading event of the day was the coming in and going out of the tide, and ducks and geese were the chief domestic animals. On one side was a prospect of wind-tossed waves and the sails of ships, on the other wind-beaten fields and the sails of mills: the few cabins that had rashly ventured beyond the protection of the village shortly lost courage, and, with their thatched roofs not a yard from the earth, seemed crouching low to avoid the continuous blasts. The church alone on the high sea-wall raised itself fearlessly against the tyrant, and though his baffled voice still howled without, within the pious prayed securely before a faith-inspiring altarpiece of Christ stilling the tempest.

"In a few weeks, after we had exhausted every amusement that the dull town afforded, become intimate with all the old gossips, tired of listening to the yarns of the pilot-tars off duty, driven the donkeys over the country until they instinctively avoided us whenever we appeared, sailed in the bay and suffered periodic attacks of sea-sickness therefrom, finished the circulating library, and half learned some barbarous sentences of Norman patois, we sat down disconsolate one afternoon to devise some means of employing the remainder of our time. It was then that the bright idea struck Annie, and she exclaimed, 'Let us go to the Paris Exposition!'

"'Just the thing!' I answered with enthusiasm. 'I wonder when the next train starts?'

"'I'll go and inquire: you begin and pack the trunks. If we can get off to-day, by to-morrow morning we can begin seeing it;' and she left the room in great excitement.

"The result was, that by seven o'clock that evening we had made our hasty preparations, and were ready to set out. It was raining terribly when the only hack of the village (which, by the by, was an omnibus) called for us at the door. The dripping fluid oozed and sparkled over the blinking lamps, the ribbed sides of the antiquated machine were varnished with moisture, and the horses looked as if each hair was a water-spout to drain the sky. Noah's patriarchal mansion might have presented a similar appearance during the first days of that celebrated wet season.

"The motherly woman with whom we had been boarding turned dismally from the weather to her invalids and tried to dissuade us from leaving that night, little understanding that we considered it 'fun.' [pg 637] As a parting advice she told us to call each other madame: it would procure us more consideration. 'For you know, young ladies,' she remonstrated mildly, 'it is not quite proper for you to travel alone.' After this prudent counsel and many warm adieus we sallied forth.

"The omnibus was crowded, and I had perforce to sit on Annie's knees. This, with the jolting, the queer effect of the half-light in the rickety interior, together with the expression of the good people, who evidently could see no fun in rain, excited my risibility so strongly that I indulged in a smothered laugh, tempered to fit the publicity of the occasion.

"'You must not laugh in France,' whispered Nan, pulling my dress.

"'I thought the French admired gayety,' I answered in the same tone.

"'Be quiet: it isn't proper.'

"The rest of the way was accomplished in silence. We soon arrived at the station and bought our tickets. Of course we had half a dozen bundles: in gathering them up a most gentlemanly person accosted us and asked, 'Avez vous perdu quelque chose, mademoiselle?'

"Annie replied in the negative with great dignity, and so cut off any chance of adventure in that quarter.

"On came the train. In France there is fortunately a provision made for women traveling without an escort. In your country they have, I believe, smoking-cars especially for the gentlemen: in that blessed land there is a compartment for 'ladies alone,' or Dames Seules, as it is called. A good American once read this inscription with much commiseration, D—— souls, and returning told his friends that the 'wicked' French allowed His Satanic Majesty the right of running a special car on their roads for his greater accommodation.

"As we were hastening to this most desired refuge I noticed two very student-looking young men walking near us, and caught a bit of their conversation.

"'They will.'

"'They won't: a bottle of wine on it we go up in the same car with them.'

"'I told you so!'

"As we found our car and entered the students passed on, not daring to ignore the magic words on the door; so Adventure No. 2 was nipped in the bud.

"Nan and I were the only lady-passengers, and we sank back into the soft cushions with the pleasant sense that no further effort would be needed during the journey. We had been told that the train would arrive in Paris about midnight, but the lateness of the hour caused us no uneasiness, as we had been there before and remembered the city pretty well; and, besides, we thoroughly believed in our ability to take care of ourselves.

"In an interval of wakefulness we discussed our plans, and concluded to spend the night at some hotel near the station, the next morning looking up our friends (several of whom we knew to be in town) and consulting them about our future proceedings, feeling that a midnight visit from us would scarcely be welcome to any one. Annie recalled a fine-looking hotel just opposite the terminus, and, having made our selection in its favor, we dozed off again very comfortably.

"I think we had been on the way some four hours when the welcome lights began to appear—first in the sky above the city, as if the earth in this favored spot threw out rays like the sun; next through the darkness over the country below; and then we plunged tunnel-wise into the earth under the busy streets and fortifications, to emerge at the end of our route.

"We gathered up our bundles in haste, thanking the stars that we had accomplished our ride so safely, and were walking off to the hotel when we suddenly thought of the trunks. Another consultation was held, and we decided to leave them in the baggage-room until morning.

"'But we must go and see that they are safe,' suggested Annie.

"'Where is the baggage-room?' I asked of a porter.

"'This way, mademoiselle.'

"'Madame!' I ventured to correct in a weak voice.

[pg 638]

"'Vos clefs, s'il vous plait,' said a polite official as we entered the door, and another laid hands on the satchels we carried, to examine them.

"We had entirely forgotten the octroi officers. 'Oh my! this affair may keep us another half hour,' thought I, 'and I am so sleepy!' I have often found (I confide this to you as an inviolable secret) that to be unreasonable is a woman's strongest weakness: it is a shield against which man's sharpest logic is invariably turned aside. The next thing to there not being a necessity, is not seeing a necessity, and this I prepared in the most innocent manner to do.

"'Gracious me!' I exclaimed—or its French equivalent, which I suppose is 'Mon Dieu'—'you don't mean to detain us here opening those bags, and we so tired, and they packed so full that we could scarcely shut them; and if you do open them, we cannot get all the things into them again, and shall have no end of trouble!' Then I looked as injured as if they had been thieves or highway-men.

"Had a man made this speech they would have mistrusted him, but as women have a reputation for shallowness, such talk is never thought suspicious in them.

"'What do they contain?' asked the officer, hesitating.

"'I don't know what all: we have been at the sea-side, and they are full of trash. There are some shells and an old hat in mine, and—and things.'

"He tried to conceal a smile, and looked toward the other, who nodded, and we saw the welcome 'O' put on in chalk, upon which the bags were given back to us.

"'Now the trunks,' said the first who had spoken, holding out his hand for the keys.

"'Oh, we are going to leave them here till to-morrow: they are all right—you can mark them too;' and without further ceremony we moved toward the door. One of the men stepped after us. I thought it was to make us return, but it was only to ask if he should get us a carriage.

"We thanked him and replied that we were going to the hotel opposite, and did not need one: he then turned to a person who seemed to be the porter of the establishment, and told him to carry our satchels for us. Now we felt our journey was well at an end, for the windows of our welcome asylum were blazing not more than a hundred feet off.

"We crossed the street, rang at the ladies' entrance and asked for rooms. After a few moments the servant returned, and, much to our chagrin, said that there were none to be had, every corner was full.

"'Do let us see the clerk. We must have a room: you can surely find us one somewhere.'

"The man shook his head.

"'Please go and try,' we insisted: 'we shall be satisfied with anything for the night. Won't you go and ask again?'

"'It is of no use,' he answered obstinately, à cause de l'Exposition;' and he opposed a shrug of his shoulders to every other effort at persuasion that we made.

"Just then a chambermaid passed. 'Do come here,' I called. 'Can't you find us a room? I will pay you;' and I put my hand significantly in my pocket.

"'Very sorry, ladies, but it is impossible,'

"This was a contingency we had not provided for: we looked at each other blankly, and, though loath to do so, we both came to the conclusion that they were telling the truth.

"'What shall we do?' asked Annie, speaking to me in English.

"'I suppose we shall have to take a carriage and go down town, after all,'

"'They may be full there too,' she said in a rueful tone.

"Just then the porter with our satchels spoke: 'There is another hotel near, ladies, and if you will come I will show you to it,'

"I consulted Annie with a look, and she assented. Any prospect was better than a midnight drive of several miles, with no certainty as to our lot at the end of it. So we turned from the inhospitable door and followed our guide.

[pg 639]

"The latter walked quickly for perhaps a square, stopped before a neat-looking house and rang. Our courage rose as the door opened and revealed a clean-looking court surrounded by orange trees in boxes, with small coffee-tables under them for the convenience of the guests.

"'Rooms for two ladies!' demanded our attendant with the voice of a herald.

"The trim but sleepy servant looked at us a moment, as if not comprehending the situation, then slowly pronounced our sentence in two words, 'No rooms!' and as if to emphasize them threw up the palms of his hands, shook his head and added 'Full!' after which he closed the door with a hasty click and returned to his nap.

"Our night-errant was visibly disappointed with this reception—not more so than we were—but without allowing us time to speak he said in his most reassuring voice, 'Never mind, ladies: there are plenty of hotels about here, and we shall soon find lodgings for you.' Having undertaken the task, he seemed to think it his duty to comfort and provide for us.

"Alas! this was not soon accomplished. Two other hotels were successively tried in vain, and still our indefatigable guide went on. It appeared as if we had walked a considerable distance, but the streets cut each other at odd angles, and we had been turning so often that I confess I had but little idea where we were, or how far we had come, when we entered a quarter where the ways became narrower, passed into a dingy alley, thence plunged through a still darker court, from that to another alley, and the next moment our porter was ringing at the door of a tall, sombre house. I truly hoped that we should not find rooms here, and was turning to Annie to advise a cab and an attempt in a more civilized-looking locality, when the bell was answered and the old question repeated.

"To my surprise and dismay the servant said they could accommodate us. Should we stay? I knew that in the older parts of Paris the best of houses are sometimes found in the poorer streets, and that in no city is a person less able to judge of the interior comfort of a building by its external aspect. We were very tired, and should we turn away from this open door where should we find another open for us? The porter, however good-natured, could not continue to run about with us all night, and our faith in ourselves was considerably diluted since we left the cars: even a cab might be difficult to get at this hour of the night. Annie did not object: indeed, she looked too worn out to have an opinion in the matter, and as I could think of nothing better to do, I began to make the usual inquiries: 'Have you two adjoining rooms?'

"'Yes, mademoiselle.'

"I remembered the advice that had been given us on starting: here surely was a place to use it, so I said to the servant in a marked tone, 'Take madame's bag and show us to our chambers.'

"'This way, mesdemoiselles,' he answered with the most provoking coolness.

"I dismissed our faithful porter with regret, and followed the other up stairs. While ascending I racked my brain to determine what peculiarity of manner we could adopt that would give us a more matronly air while traveling, but I could think of nothing. I may as well tell you now that we never for an instant deceived any one on this subject during our stay, and we soon ceased trying to do so.

"Our rooms were much better than I had expected to find them, but even this caused in me a feeling of doubt. They had a hypocritical air, a grasping after appearances that I believe always accompanies deceit and imposition—a sleek shabbiness that I detest. I knew by instinct that if I examined I should find the carpets worn out under the mats, and the chairs faded beneath their smart chintz covers. There was not a candid-looking piece of furniture in the apartment: the table was an impostor with one short leg; the drawers of the bureau would not open; the glasses were all askew, and twisted your face to such a degree that it frightened you to catch a [pg 640] glimpse of yourself in passing. But this was not the worst: from the moment I entered the rooms I felt that they had been waiting for us.

"I did not venture to mention my suspicions to Annie, and tried to keep up a cheery sort of conversation while we undressed, but I could see that she too began to be uneasy. We carefully inspected our doors, and found the locks were good, then looked to see that there was no one lurking under the beds. It would be difficult to tell you exactly what I feared, but somehow everything impressed me as mysterious—the quiet of the streets through which we had come, and the quiet of the house. It was such a lonely, eerie kind of place: our feet echoed on the stairways as if human feet seldom ascended them; the shadows appeared especially dark; our candles' small light made little impression on the gloom; the very air seemed harder to breathe than ordinary; and on recalling the face of the impertinent servant I thought that it had a sinister look.

"I tried to recall whether we were in a good or bad faubourg, but could not; and then I remembered that Paris was now divided into arrondissements, which had a much less ill-omened sound. I went to the window to reconnoitre the locality, but, though the rain had ceased, darkness covered all so thickly that I could see nothing. As I stood there the clock on the station struck, first the quarters, and then one, in a doleful, muffled tone. It told me one thing I was glad to know—namely, that we could not have wandered very far during our walk; but there was little comfort in that, after all, since the walk had terminated here.

"Stories that I had read of strange adventures and accidents to midnight guests now trooped into my head. I thought of one in particular, in which the tester of the bed slowly descended to smother the sleeping inmate for purposes of robbery; whereupon I minutely examined mine, and found to my satisfaction that it was scarcely able to discharge the single duty of holding up the curtains, and looked most innocent of further intentions. Finding myself again peering into corners I had already searched, and feeling this general unrest to be growing upon me, I began to think I must be nervous from over-exertion, and determined to get rid of my silly fancies in sleep. Then, as if to take myself by surprise, I suddenly blew out the light, sprang under the covers and shut my eyes tight, afraid that something hateful might glare upon me in the dark.

"Just then Annie came to the communicating doorway, and with an effort to speak in her natural voice she said, 'Jane, I am going to sleep here.' And as if this endeavor had consumed her last bit of resistance, she closed and locked the door quickly, ran to my bed and threw herself shivering beside me.

"'What is the matter?' I whispered, feeling my presentiment of evil confirmed.

"She put her lips to my ear and answered, 'I found a door in my room behind the bed-curtains, and it leads I don't know where."

"'Did you open it?'

"'No indeed! I would not open it for the world. There might be something horrible in it;' and she shuddered.

"'You have left your light burning.'

"'I don't care. I won't go back: no indeed, I could not.' There was silence for a few minutes: neither of us moved, when Nan again whispered, 'Do you think this room quite safe?'

"'I looked all around before I blew out the light.'

"'Did you look behind your curtains?'

"'No!' I answered with an uncomfortable sensation.

"'You are next the wall: feel along it,' in her most persuasive voice.

"The very idea made me creep. Put my hand behind those curtains and touch—what? Even the cold wall would be sufficient to terrify me. For reply I remarked suggestively, 'If we had the light we could see.'

"'Yes, that would be just the thing. Go bring it—do!'

"I felt that something must be done, and soon, or I should be in no state to accomplish it. If Nan would not go, I must: when we had the light half our [pg 641] trouble would be over, and, after all, she might have been mistaken.

"'Did the door move?' I ventured to ask.

"'No, it didn't do anything—at least I don't think it did—but it looked so awful that it frightened me.'

"'That light in there may set something on fire,' I remarked.

"'Go fetch it: it will only take you a minute. Do go!'

"'You are sure the door didn't open?' I asked, far from liking my task.

"'I will go with you half-way,' she volunteered, 'and stand there while you run in quick. Come on, and don't let us talk any more about it: we shall only get more and more frightened.' You will see that Annie's gifts lay more in persuasion than in action.

"Thus adjured, I went with her to the communicating door, cautiously listened, then looked through the keyhole. The silence within was oppressive, but the flickering bougie warned me that I must make an effort, and without allowing myself time to think I hastily turned the key and opened the door.

"At that moment it seemed to me that I heard distant footsteps. I rushed for the light and turned to go back, when I ran against some one: the candle was extinguished by being jerked from the holder to the floor, and a hand which I vainly tried to shake off clasped my arm. My blood grew thick and still with sudden terror. I tried to speak, but could not. What increased my dread was that I could not tell whether the Thing by my side was a reality or a spectre. I had caught a glimpse of something white as the light disappeared, and I believe that a pistol at my head would have caused me less alarm than this horrible idea of the supernatural. I began to feel that I could endure it no longer, that I should stifle, should die, when Annie's voice spoke in the darkness quite near, and I found it was she who had grasped my arm.

"'I could not stay in that room alone,' she whispered. 'Don't you hear?—footsteps! They are coming.'

"'You have half frightened me to death,' I murmured trembling: 'I thought you were something.'

"'No, I ain't anything, but something is coming. Don't you hear?'

"It was true enough. Through the quiet of the house came stealthy footsteps. Nearer, nearer. They were ascending the stairs, at times delaying an instant, as if groping for the way, then on.

"'Come into your room,' said Annie convulsively: 'come, and we can lock ourselves in. Oh, where is your door? I cannot find it, and they are coming. What shall we do? what shall we do?'

"We were in total darkness: not a ray of light came from the window, and in our confusion we had lost our bearings. Neither of us had the least idea in what direction the other room lay.

"'Let us creep along the floor, perhaps we may find it. Do try,' said I.

"'No, no, I cannot move. I wish we had never come. I am dying.' She was shaking with fright, and would not leave my arm for an instant.

"Just then, from somewhere near us, we could not tell from what side, came a long low whistle, so mournful and unearthly, with such a summons in its tone, that I shivered: then a faint movement followed from the same place.

"'It is a signal for the other,' gasped Annie: 'it is in that door: they are coming, they are here. Shall I scream murder? shall I?' giving my arm an emphasizing grip.

"'No, no, wait: it will do no good.'

"She groaned, slipped down on her knees, with one arm still round me, her face pressed against my side, holding her other hand over the unprotected ear, so that she should hear no more; and in this position she began to repeat 'Now I lay me down to sleep' just as fast as she could gabble it.

"I was no less frightened, and would willingly have crouched down also, but she held me so tight that I could not without a struggle, and above all things I did not want to make a noise.

"It was thus we awaited the crisis. The steps were certainly coming to our room, but whether by the door we had [pg 642] entered or by the one Annie had seen behind the bed, I could not tell. I was too bewildered to locate the sound, nor did I know whether the bed was at my right or left hand. I had a slight hope that the steps might pass on.

"It was for that I waited.

"They came—near, nearer. For a time my heart ceased beating. Annie slipped lower, until she lay on the floor, and I could no longer hear her breathe. My whole being was merged in listening to that step. I could feel that now it was on a level with our room—was there almost beside us. Lightly though distinctly a hand passed over the door, as if fumbling for the latch. This was the intense moment. Had the person paused or hesitated an instant, I think it would have killed us both. But no, he did not falter. Steadily on, the step, guided by the hand, went as it had come, and as I stood, not daring to move, I heard it receding in the distance of the great house. Then all was silence.

"When sensation returned to me I felt as if I had awakened from a nightmare, and found myself shaking from the nervous reaction and the cold. I stooped to find poor Nan on the floor, and said through my chattering teeth, 'It must have been only a late boarder. Don't be afraid. It is all over: come, get up.'

"'Can't you get a light?' she begged. 'I cannot move until you have a light. I am still afraid.'

"I now remembered that the bureau must be behind me, for I had merely turned when I encountered Annie and dropped the candle. There were probably matches upon it: yes, there they were. I struck one and easily found the candle: then Annie rose with the meekest air possible, and, without looking at the obnoxious corner where the bed stood, we walked into the other room and locked the door.

"It was not until the gray morning light crept into the window that we felt quite safe. Every crack in the floor or nibbling mouse caused us to start, and at each quarter the clock of the station would strike as if to warn us to be on the alert. But the bed was not bad, and the house remained quiet; and as soon as the dawn made our candle useless, we began to think we had been very foolish, and the result was a sound sleep.

"When we awoke it was ten o'clock: the morning was bright and clear, and the terrors of the night had all departed during our refreshing rest. The room certainly looked shabby, but if that were a crime, half the houses in the world would be sent to prison. There was nothing in the least mysterious about it. Our courage rose with the day, and we teased and joked each other about our fright. Then, anticipating the glories of the Exposition, we congratulated ourselves that we had come.

"'We won't breakfast here,' said Annie as she was dressing: 'we will go down town to a nice restaurant, and sit at a window and see the people go by. Afterward we will look up our friends and find a good hotel or boarding-house; and we must go to the Exposition this very day. We shall have a famous time. We can make up parties to drive out, and go monument-hunting and sight-seeing, and to the theatre. Ain't you glad you came?'

"'The first thing we do must be to go back to the station and leave these bags with our trunks until we find lodgings,' I remarked.

"Nan went into the next room to get some of the clothing she had left there. When she returned, lowering her voice she said, 'Jane, there is a door behind my curtains.'

"'Very well, let it alone: I suppose it is a closet.'

"'No such thing: it don't look like a closet; and why would they hide a closet, I should like to know? Come in and see it.'

"She walked back, and as I followed drew the curtain aside, and there in fact it was.

"'I am going to open it before I leave the room,' she said in a determined tone: 'there is something not right about it.'

"'I wouldn't,' I remonstrated: 'some one may be in there.'

[pg 643]

"'I am going to see: I must look into it. It is daylight, you know, and we sha'n't be much frightened. Help me to push away the bed.'

"'I won't do anything so absurd. This is a hotel, Annie, and there must be plenty of adjoining rooms in it. Suppose that room is now occupied by a boarder?'

"'If it is occupied they will lock the door on the other side, and I will try the latch softly to see; but I know it is not. Don't you see that the only entrance must be from here? There is the entry. opposite, and here is the court: now, how could any one get into it but through this room? It must be a small place, too, for here is the corner of the house, and it has been evidently planned to be kept concealed."

"'No matter: we have no right to any rooms but these we are in. Come away, and let well enough alone.'

"'It is not "well enough," as you call it. I am going to see into it, and why they hide it. I declare,' and she examined the door critically, 'it looks like the entrance to Bluebeard's chamber. Look at these queer marks, these dents and stains, as if there had been a struggle. It is our duty to investigate;' and her voice grew impressive. 'Perhaps we have been brought here for that very purpose, and, Jane, if there is a dead body in there, I shall inform the police.' Annie was very brave in daylight.

"'Fiddle-de-dee!' I replied to this fine speech. 'What you call duty, I call curiosity. I am ravenously hungry, and I wish you would finish dressing and let us get to breakfast.'

"'I will just tell you this,' she answered indignantly, and yet with a quiver in her voice, 'I never in my life felt as I did last night when I saw that door. It was quite like what people write of a mysterious influence, or the presence of some one unseen; and that whistle or voice or moan, as if a soul was calling, came from here; and you must help me to find out what it really was, for I can't go away without knowing.'

"I saw it was useless to try longer to dissuade her. The bed moved easily: she took my hand and led me behind it; then warily tried the latch. It rose, but she was obliged to lean all her weight against the door before it would give way, and finally it opened so unexpectedly that she almost fell forward.

"What did I see? At the first glimpse a faint light from a cobwebbed window, a narrow room and a floor—red. Was it blood? A sickening mouldy smell came forth, but as I forced myself to look again I saw that it was only red tiles that had startled me. There was an upright brick range in a corner, an old water-tank, some shelves and a cupboard. A missing pane of glass left a space through which the air had entered and moaned up the broad-mouthed flue that opened above the range. This was the ominous 'signal' we had heard in answer to the footsteps. The dust was thick over everything, and the only signs of life were the rat-tracks on the floor. We stood still for a few moments, overwhelmed at this solution of the occult 'influence' that had so subtly acted on Annie's nerves, and filled me with no less terror.

"The house had been built for a hôtel garni; that is, a house with furnished rooms or apartments, something like a tenement-house in your country. This was the kitchen of the suite, and belonged to the two rooms we had taken. Being unused for its proper object, and too small for a bed-chamber, it had been closed, and appeared as if it had been unentered for years. I turned to Annie to see how she would bear this prosaic explanation of our alarm, but with the air of one who had expected nothing but this from the beginning, she remarked, 'Now you see how much better it is to look into such things. This room would have furnished me with bad dreams for the remainder of my life, and here I find it is only a commonplace kitchen. Think how ludicrous to have the horrors over a kitchen! Sha'n't I tell of your fright when we get home—how you didn't want to open the door, and wanted to 'let well enough alone'? The place might be haunted by the ghost of a chicken or a rabbit, but, my [pg 644] dear, you should not allow that to terrify you.'

"'Perhaps it was the ghost of a chicken that you feared last night, and that caused your presentiments this morning. I hope you will inform the police of what you have discovered here,' I remarked quietly.

"'A truce, a truce, good Jane! I will say no more. We were both boobies. But wouldn't it be 'cute to live here, you and me, and make our own breakfast? Look at the hole for charcoal, and the little cupboard, the nails for the pots and pans to hang on: everything is complete. That room could be for dining, the other a parlor, and—'

"'The only drawback would be that, except at the North Pole, the night comes once in twenty-four hours.'

"'Don't be mean, Jane! Do come in here a minute: it's a dear little place.'

"'You will certainly make a housekeeper if a kitchen gives you such ecstasy. Come out, I am so hungry. Put on your bonnet and leave this elysium: I have had enough of it.'

"'You come in for a second: it will shake the terror off and you won't dream of it. That is a cure my old nurse once gave me for laying ghosts.'

"'It may be a good plan to shake off the terror, but the dust on you will not be shaken off so easily.'

"'Suppose,' and she stamped her foot—'suppose that the floor should be hollow, and that this were only a pretended kitchen after all, or that there was a trap-door painted to resemble tiles, or a sliding panel.' Here she felt over the surface of the wall. 'Why should I feel so queer last night if this was really nothing but a kitchen?'

"'Because you are a goose,' I answered impatiently, 'and if you don't come I will leave you. If you like, you can engage boarding here for a week, and raise the tiles one by one with a knife and fork. As for me, I am going to breakfast.'

"'But don't you think it really has an uncanny look?' she asked, giving a last glance over her shoulder as she came out.

"'If you call dirt uncanny, there is plenty of that. Shut the door, and I will push back the bed.'

"'Jane,' she again remarked as she was trying on her bonnet before the crooked glass, 'if ever I tell of this night, I think I will say that there was a trap-door in the kitchen: you know there might be one and we not see it.'

"'Oh yes,' I answered as patiently as I could, 'I suppose a fib more or less will make but little difference in your lifetime. While you are at it, however, you may as well make a few more additions.'

"'Now you are unkind.'

"'A person is not accountable for temper when famishing. Take up your satchel.'

"We found the house a most every-day-looking house, seen by sunlight; but there had lain the difficulty. The clerk in the office did not particularly resemble a cutthroat, or even a cutpurse, and, strange to say, did not overcharge us: in fact, he behaved very civilly. We found we were not far from the station, and depositing our bags there, we walked down the beautiful Rue La Fayette.

"'It is a great deal pleasanter to travel alone in this way,' said Nan gayly, her spirits rising in the delightful air. 'When I was here before with all the family, it was not near so jolly; and I think we manage well, don't you? Oh, there is an omnibus not complet: let us get in. I am too hungry to walk.'

"After we were seated she continued: 'I wonder what will happen to us to-night. Suppose we find every place full, and have to sleep in a garden or on the steps of a church, or something? Isn't it delightful not to know in the least what is going to happen next?—just as in fairy-land. Don't you hope we may have an adventure every night?'

"'I should not call last night an adventure: it seems to me it was more like a panic,' I said drily.

"'You will never let anything be agreeable,' in a hurt tone: then recovering her good temper, she went on: 'Well, call it a panic if you like. Now, suppose [pg 645] we had one every night, and we stayed here two weeks, there would be fourteen panics before we go home. Wouldn't that be glorious?'

"'You did not appear to enjoy it so much last night.'

"'At the time I did not,' she admitted frankly. 'Weren't we frightened? But then, you know, how nice it will be to talk of it afterward!'

"We arrived at a restaurant in the Palais Royal, and found a seat by the window, and a breakfast. We had already finished the latter, and were playing with our fruit, when a party entered who attracted our attention by speaking English.

"'One of them is Miss Rodgers,' Annie whispered excitedly. 'I know her well: hadn't we better run away? What will she think of our being here alone?'

"'Nonsense! You had better ask her where she is staying. Remember, we are houseless as yet.'

"'I don't like to ask her.'

"'Introduce me: I will ask.' The idea of spending the night in a garden or on a church-step did not possess the same charms for me as for Nan. Thus prompted, she walked forward and spoke to her friend, afterward presenting me. We chatted a few minutes, when Miss Rodgers asked Annie where she was staying, and how her mamma was.

"'Mamma is not with us,' was Nan's embarrassed reply.

"I went to her rescue, and diverted the questions by asking some myself: 'Miss Rodgers, where are you staying? We do not like our hotel and want to change.'

"'There is not a room in our house that is unoccupied, and you won't find good accommodation anywhere. You had better not change if you have a place to lay your head. Paris is so crowded that everything has been taken up long ago. You can ask at a dozen hotels or boarding-houses and not find a garret to let. You have no idea of the difficulty.'

"Yes, we had an idea, and believed every word she said: in fact, we would rather have felt less convinced on the subject. Even Annie seemed to think that traveling alone might present some disagreeable features, and looked quite unhappy, notwithstanding her love of adventure. But before our mental anguish had time to become unbearable a young girl, a niece of Miss Rodgers, spoke: 'Auntie, if the young ladies would like, I know of just the place that would suit them.' Then turning to us, she continued: 'I am at school a few miles out of the city, and madame told me that if I knew of any one, she had room for a few parlor-boarders. It is a lovely spot, and no end of trains coming and going all day; so that it would be just as convenient as living here, and you would have excellent accommodation. Then, too, I could speak English to you sometimes. I am so tired of talking for ever without half knowing what I am saying.'

"I could have embraced the chatterbox on the spot for this opportune proposal, but controlled my feelings and looked at Nan to see if she approved. She was consenting with every one of her expressive features, and did not appear at all anxious to enjoy one of her fourteen delightful panics this evening if it could be avoided. Being spokesman, I said, 'I would willingly try the school on your recommendation, Miss Ada, if you think madame could be ready for us this evening.'

"'Of course she could: come out with me now and see her. I must go at one, and can show you the way. Will you meet me at the station? or shall we call for you at your hotel?'

"'We will meet at the station,' I replied, glad to settle it so quickly, 'if you are quite sure that your madame will like our unceremonious arrival.'

"'That will be all right, I know. She has several empty rooms, and will be happy to have them filled. You can leave your trunks until to-morrow if you don't like to come bag and baggage.'

"We needed no further pressing. Here was deliverance and safety, and we bade good-morning to the party with light hearts.

"We found the school all that Miss Ada had promised, and thus ended the nearest approach to an adventure that we had during the two weeks that we remained."

"And now tell me about the Exposition."

"Well, we saw it."

"Saw what?"

"Why, everything."

"Describe it to me."

"Certainly. In the first place, it was very big, and everybody was there, so it was crowded; and you met your friends and you talked; and—and you got fearfully tired; and it was wonderful; and there were ever so many restaurants, and a soda-water fountain, and queer things that you never expected to see there, like the Mexican techcatl and Russian horses; and everything was real—real lace and cashmeres and diamonds, and nothing but what was very nice. But, after all, I think you had better get a file of old newspapers and read about it, for I really have no talent for description—or, better still, go and see the one in Vienna this summer."


[pg 646]


In traveling over the old lands of Europe one is sometimes apt to think more of historical and genealogical traditions than of the natural beauties or peculiarities of the country. The old landmarks of a nation, whether monuments built by the hand of man or archives carefully preserved by him, tell us of its growth, just as the strata of the mountain tell of its progress to the geologist; and as every successive layer has some relation both to its predecessor and its successor, so the traditions of each generation have a perceptible influence upon the moral development of the generation following. Every nation is thus the growing fruit of its own history, and every visible step of the grand ladder of facts that has led up to the present result must needs have for a student of human nature an intrinsic interest.

This comes very clearly before my mind as I think of Slains Castle (Aberdeen), a massive crown of granite set on the brow of the rocks of the German Ocean, and the seat of one of those old Scottish families whose origin is hidden away among the suggestive mists of tradition.

Slains Castle stands alone, a giant watchman upon giant cliffs, built up only one story high, on account of the tremendous winds that prevail there in spring and autumn, and cased with the gray Aberdeen granite of the famous quarries near by. The surrounding country is as bare and uninviting as one could imagine; the road from Aberdeen (twenty miles) is bleak and stony; the young trees near the castle are stunted, and in many cases disfigured by the inroads of hungry cows among their lower branches, and a damp veil of mist hangs perpetually over the scene, softening the landscape, but sometimes depressing the spirits. As the hours pass the place grows on you: a weird beauty begins to loom up from among the mist-wreaths, the jagged rocks, the restless waves, and you forget the desolate moor, which in itself displays attractions you will realize later, in the grandeur of the desolate sea.

The original building is of the time of James VI. (of Scotland), and is due to Francis, earl of Erroll, whose more ancient castle, bearing the same name, was destroyed by the king to punish his vassal for the part he had taken in a rebellion. In the seventeenth century Earl Gilbert made great improvements in it, and early in the eighteenth Earl Charles added the front. In 1836 it was rebuilt [pg 647] by Earl William George, the father of the present owner, with the exception of the lower part of the original tower. In this there used to be in olden times an oubliette in which unhappy prisoners were let down. All at first appeared dark around them, but when they had thankfully assured themselves that they at last stood upon solid ground, they would look about them and presently descry a line of fitful light coming from a door ajar in their dungeon. The poor victims would then go in haste to this door, pull it open and, blinded by the sudden light, step out upon the green slope terminating quickly in a precipice, which went sheer down to the sea.

The rest of the house is built around a large covered piazza, intersected by corridors where pictures, armor and all kinds of old family relics decorate the walls. The drawing-room is on the very edge of the rock, and on stormy days the flocks of uneasy sea-gulls almost flap their wings against its window-panes, while the clouds of spray dash up against them in miniature waterfalls. The rocks in the immediate neighborhood of the castle are rugged in the extreme, here and there rent by a gigantic fissure reaching far inland, and up which the foaming waters gurgle continually as if in impatience of their narrow bounds, now jutting far into the sea like a Titanic staircase and thickly matted with coarse sea-weed, and again reared up on high, a sheer glistening wall, with not a cranny for the steadiest foot, and with Niagaras of spray for ever veiling its smooth, unchanging face. In wonderful hollows you will come upon pools of green water with sea-anemones, delicate sea-weed of pink, yellow or purple hue, and gem-like shells resting on a bottom of clearest sand; and while the waves are roaring on every side, and flinging their dampness into your very face, these fairy pools will lie at your feet without a breath or ripple on their surface.

The most magnificent of these rocks is one called in Gaelic "Dun-Bug" ("Yellow Rock"), the favorite haunt of the white sea-gulls. It stands alone, as if torn from the land and hurled into the tossing waves by some giant hand. Two hundred feet in height and a thousand in circumference, it forms a natural arch, being pierced from its base upward by an opening that widens as it ascends. The waves dash through it with terrific violence, and the very sight of its grim splendor conjures up a vision of shipwreck and danger. Scott has made mention of it in The Antiquary, and Johnson in his Journey to the Hebrides, recalling the grandeur of the rocky coast of Slains, has said that though he could not wish for a storm, still as storms, whether wished for or not, will sometimes happen, he would prefer to look at them from Slains Castle. These rocks and the caves that alternate with them were once famous as a smuggling rendezvous, and as such Scott has again immortalized them in his Guy Mannering. The Crooked Mary, a noted lugger, had many an adventure along this coast during the last century. The skipper's arrival was eagerly looked for at certain stated times, the preconcerted signal was given by him, and the inhabitants bestirred themselves with commendable haste. All ordinary business was immediately suspended: men might be seen stealing along from house to house, or a fisher-girl, bareheaded and barefooted, would hurry to the neighboring village, and deliver a brief message which to a bystander would sound very like nonsense, but which nevertheless was well understood by the person to whom it was given. Soon after a plaid or blanket might be seen spread out, as if to dry, upon the top of a peat-stack. Other beacons, not calculated to draw general notice, but sufficiently understood by the initiated, soon made their appearance, telegraphing the news from place to place. As soon as the evening began to close in the Crooked Mary would be observed rapidly approaching the land, and occasionally giving out signals indicating the creek into which she meant to run. Both on sea and land hairbreadth escapes were the rule rather than the exception, and it is related of one of the Crooked Mary's confederates on shore, poor Philip Kennedy, that one night, while clearing the way for [pg 648] the cargo just landed from the contraband trader's hold, he was simply murdered by the excise-officers. The heavy cart laden with the cargo was yet some distance behind, and Kennedy with some dastardly companions was slowly going forward to ascertain if all was safe, when three officers of the customs suddenly made their unwelcome appearance. Brave as a lion, Kennedy attacked two of them, and actually succeeded for a time in keeping them down in his powerful grasp, while he called to his party to secure the third. They, however, thinking prudence the better part of valor, decamped ignominiously, and the enemy remained master of the brave man's life. Anderson, the third officer, was observed to hold up his sword to the moon, as if to ascertain if he were using the edge, and then to bring it down with accurate aim and tremendous force upon the smuggler's skull. Strange to say, Kennedy, streaming with blood, actually succeeded in reaching Kirkton of Slains, nearly a quarter of a mile away, but expired a few moments after his arrival. His last words were: "If all had been true as I was, the goods would have been safe, and I should not have been bleeding to death." The brave fellow was buried in the churchyard of Slains, where a plain stone marks his grave, and bears the simple inscription, "To the memory of Philip Kennedy, in Ward, who died the 19th of December, 1798. Aged 38."

My own earliest recollections of the grand, desolate old castle are derived, not from my first visit to it made in infancy, but from the descriptions of one whose home it was during a brief but intensely observant period of childhood. There came one day a storm such as seldom even on that coast lashes up the gray, livid ocean. The waves, as far out as sight could reach, were one mass of foam, and the ghastly lightning flashed upon the torn sails of a ship as near destruction as it well could be. Cries came up from below in the brief pauses of the storm, and above lanterns were quickly carried to and fro, while pale attendants hurriedly and silently obeyed the signals of a more collected master. The occupants of the castle hardly knew to what its chambers might be destined—whether to receive the dead or to afford rest to the saved. Beds, fires and cordials were in readiness, and strong men bore dread burdens up dizzy paths leading from beneath. The ship broke in pieces on the merciless rocks, and many a drowned sailor went down to meet the army of his fellow-victims of all times who no doubt lay sleeping in the submarine caves of Slains. Those who survived soon disappeared, full of gratitude for the timely relief offered them at the castle, but one old man remained. He was never known by any other name than "Monsieur," and was beloved by every individual member of the household. A French émigré of the old school, with the dainty, gallant ways of the ancien régime, he still clung to the dress of his earlier days, and wore a veritable queue, silk stockings and buckled shoes. For some time he remained a welcome guest in the "red chamber," where the host's little children would sometimes join him and play with his watch and jeweled baubles. But one day poor little "Monsieur" sickened, and the tiny feet that had made such haste to run to him, now trod the corridor softly and bore a baby-nurse to the gentle invalid. It was a high and coveted reward for the little girls to carry "Monsieur's" medicine to his bedside, and everything that kindness and hospitality could suggest was equally lavished on him; but his feeble life, which had no doubt received a shock from the shipwreck it had barely escaped, went out peacefully like the soft flame of a lamp.

Slains Castle had many gentle and pleasant memories about it, as well as its traditional horrors, and among these were many connected with the history of the old family that owned it. In one of the corridors hangs the picture of James, Lord Hay, a fair-haired, sunny-faced boy, tall and athletic, standing with a cricket-bat in his hand. He would have been earl of Erroll had he lived, but if we follow him in his short life from classic Eton to the field of [pg 649] Quatre-Bras, we shall find him again, on a bright June day in 1815, lying as if asleep, as fair and noble-looking as before, but silent in death. Simple Flemish peasants stand in a group around him, awed and admiring, asking each other if this beautiful youth is an angel fallen from heaven, or only a mortal man slain for the Honor of his country. His was a noble death, and worthy of the suggestive memento of his early boyhood before which we stood just now in the corridor of Slains Castle.

A little farther down this corridor, which to all intents and purposes is a family picture-gallery, we shall be forced to stop before the portrait of a dark woman, masculine and resolute, not beautiful nor like the handsome race of the Hays, of which she was yet the last direct representative. This is the famous Countess Mary, one of the central figures of the family traditions. The Hays were hereditary lords high constable of Scotland, and also one of the few Scottish families in which titles and offices, as well as lands, are transmitted through the female line. So this Countess Mary found herself, at the death of her brother, countess of Erroll in her own right and lord high constable of Scotland. In one of the two pictures of her at Slains, if I remember right, she is represented with the bâton of her office, with which badge she also appeared at court before her marriage (after this it was borne by her husband in the character of her deputy). Her husband was a commoner, a Mr. Falconer of Dalgaty, whose reported history in connection with her is curious and deserves to be told, though the old tradition is moulded into so many different forms that it is very difficult to disentangle the truth from its manifold embellishments. Toward the beginning of the eighteenth century this intrepid and independent lady fell in love with Mr. Falconer, who at first did not seem eager to return or notice her affection. High-strung and chivalric by nature, she did not droop and pine under her disappointment, but vowed to herself that she would bring him to her feet. Mr. Falconer coner left the country after some time, and went to London. The Countess Mary also traveled south the same year, and no news of her was heard at Slains for some time. Meanwhile, she and Mr. Falconer met, but unknown to the latter, who about the same time became acquainted with a very dashing young cavalier, evidently a man of high birth and standing, but resolutely bent on mystifying his friends as to his origin. The two saw each other frequently, and were linked by that desultory companionship of London life which sometimes indeed ripens into friendship, but as often ends in a sudden quarrel. Such was the end of this acquaintance, and one day some trifling difference having occurred between the friends, a cartel reached Mr. Falconer couched in very haughty though perfectly courteous language. These things were every-day matters in such times, and very nonchalantly the challenged went in the early morning to the appointed place to meet the challenger. Here the versions of the story differ. Some say that Mr. Falconer and his antagonist fought, but without witnesses; that the former got the worst of the encounter, and remained at the other's mercy; that then, and not before, the Countess Mary made herself known to him and gave him his choice—a thrust from her sword or a speedy marriage with herself. Others say that it was before the duel that she astonished her lover by this discovery, and that the choice she gave him was between marriage and ridicule.1

[pg 650]

The fact of her marriage, and that it proved a happy one, is certain. Mr. Falconer dropped his own name to assume that of Hay. The countess was a devoted Jacobite and an earnest churchwoman. When Presbyterianism had got the upper hand in Scotland, and was repaying church persecutions with terrible interest, a Mr. Keith was appointed to the Anglican parish of Deer. This was within the Erroll jurisdiction, and it was not long before the zealous Countess Mary came to the rescue of the congregation, who had assembled for some time in an old farmhouse. In 1719 or '20 she had the upper floor of a large granary fitted up for their accommodation, and this afforded them a grateful shelter for more than a quarter of a century. Of this same parish of Deer a curious story is told in the local annals, showing how conservative and tenacious of traditions the north of Scotland still was in 1711. The skirmish to which it relates goes by the quaint title of the "Rabbling of Deer," and is thus reported: "Some people of Aberdeen, in conjunction with the presbytry of Deer, to the number of seventy horse or thereby, assembled on the twenty-third of March, 1711, to force in a Presbyterian teacher in opposition to the parish; but the presbytry and their satellites were soundly beat off by the people, not without blood on both sides."

There was little of the martyr about the Scot of that warlike day, and most emphatically and literally did he show himself a "soldier of the Lord."

The aisle of the old church of Slains contains the graves of Countess Mary and her husband, with an epitaph in Latin, of which the following is a translation: "Beneath this tombstone there are buried neither gold nor silver, nor treasures of any kind, but the bodies of the most chaste wedded pair, Mary, countess of Erroll, and Alexander Hay of Dalgaty, who lived peaceably and lovingly in matrimony for twenty-seven years. They wished to be buried here beside each other, and pray that this stone may not be moved nor their remains disturbed, but that these be allowed to rest in the Lord until He shall call them to the happy resurrection of that life which they expect from the mercy of God and the merits of the Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ."

The central figure, however, in the history of the Hays of Erroll, and that which no one who bears the name of Hay can think of without a thrill of pride, is the Lord Kilmarnock who fell, in 1746, a victim to the last unsuccessful but heroic rising in favor of the Stuarts. I have heard it whispered as an instance of "second sight" that some years before he had any reason to anticipate such a death he was once startled by the ghostly opening of a door in the apartment where he was sitting alone, and by the apparition, horribly distinct and realistic, of a bloody head rolling slowly toward him across the room; till it rested at his feet. The glassy eyes were upturned to his, and the bonny locks were clotted with blood: it was as if it had just rolled from under the axe of the executioner; and the features, plainly discerned, were his own!

His part in the rising of 1745 belongs to history, but his personal demeanor concerns my narrative more closely. All the contemporary accounts are loud in praise of his beauty and elegance of person, his refinement of manner, his variety of accomplishments; and Scott, in his Tales of a Grandfather, relates a curious circumstance concerning his fine presence at the moment of his execution. A lady of fashion who had never seen him before, and who was herself, I believe, the wife of one who had much to do with Lord Kilmarnock's death-warrant, seeing him pass on his way to the block, formed a most violent attachment for his person, "which in a less serious affair would have, been little less than a ludicrous frenzy."

[pg 651]

The grace and dignity of his appearance, together with the resignation and mildness of his address, melted all the spectators to tears as they gathered round the fatal Tower prison to witness his death: the chaplain who attended him says his behavior was so humble and resigned that even the executioner burst into tears, and was obliged to use strong cordials to support him in his terrible duty. Lord Kilmarnock himself was deeply impressed by the sight of the block draped in funereal black, the plain coffin placed just beside it, the sawdust that was so disposed as speedily to suck up the bloody traces of the execution, and the sea of faces surrounding the open enclosure kept for this his last earthly ordeal. It was certainly not from fear that he recoiled, but his proud, sensitive, melancholy nature was thrilled through every nerve by this dread publicity, and we cannot wonder that, leaning heavily on the arm of a trusty friend, he should have whispered, almost with his last breath, the simple words, "Home, this is dreadful!"

One who was the lineal descendant of this earl of Kilmarnock, and whose only brother long bore the same blood-stained and laurel-wreathed title, has often told me of the strange link that bridged the chasm of four generations from 1746 to 1829, and bound her recollections to those of a living witness of the scene. She was so young as not to have any distinct impression of other events that happened at the same time, but this lived in her mind because of the importance and solemnity with which her own parents had purposely invested it in her eyes. One day, at Brighton, this little great-great-grand-daughter of the Lord Kilmarnock of 1745 was brought down from the nursery to see an old, more than octogenarian, soldier who had distinguished himself in recent wars, and reached the rank of general. This tottering old man, more than fourscore years of age, took the wee maiden of hardly four upon his knee, and told her in simple words the story she was never to forget—how he had been a tiny boy running to school on the day of the execution of the "rebel lords," and how, seeing a vast, eager crowd all setting toward the Tower quarter, he was tempted to play truant, and flinging his satchel of books over his shoulder, had pushed his way as far as the great state prison. Then of his frantic efforts to secure a point of vantage whence to see the great death-pageant—of his childish admiration for the handsome, manly form of Lord Kilmarnock, of his enthusiasm when Lord Balmerino, the other victim, had cried in a loud voice, "Long live the king!" and of the fascination he could not resist which led his eyes from the shining axe and the draped block to the auburn locks of the prisoner, and soon after to his bleeding head laid low in the sawdust around the coffin. All this the old veteran told thrillingly, the shadow of a boy's awed recollection mingling with his Scottish exultation as a compatriot of the victim, and even with a touch of humor as he recalled the domestic scolding which marked the truant's return.

In the charter-room at Slains Castle, where the records, genealogies, private journals, official deeds, etc. of the family are kept, one might find ample material for curious investigation of our forefathers' way of living. Among other papers is a kind of inventory headed, "My Ladies Petition anent the Plenissing within Logg and Slanis." The list of things wanted for Slains speaks chiefly of brass pots, pewter pans and oil barrels, but, the "plenissing" of Logg (another residence of the Errolls), "quhilk my Ladie desyris as eftir followis, quhilk extendis skantlie (scantily) to the half," contains an ample list of curtains of purple velvet, green serge, green-and-red drugget and other stuffs hardly translatable to the modern understanding, and shows that in those days women were not more backward than now in plaguing their liege lords about upholstery and millinery. But the most amusing and natural touch of all is in the endorsement, hardly gallant, but very conjugal, made by the fair petitioner's husband: "To my Ladyes gredie (greedy) and vnressonable (unreasonable) [pg 652] desyris it is answerit...." Here follows a distinct admission that the furniture of both houses, put together, is too little to furnish the half of each of them, and therefore nothing can be spared from Logie to "pleniss" Slains.

The family coat-of-arms commemorates to this day the poetical genealogy of the Hays. Its supporters are two tall, naked peasants bearing plough-yokes on their shoulders: the crest is a falcon, while the motto is also significant—"Serva jugum." Scottish tradition tells us that in 980, when the Danes had shamefully routed the Scots at Loncarty, a little village near Perth, and were pursuing the fugitives, an old man and his two stalwart sons, who were ploughing in a field close by, were seized with indignation, and, shouldering their plough-yokes, placed themselves resolutely in a narrow defile through which their countrymen must pass to evade a second slaughter by the victors. As the Scots came on the three patriots opposed their passage, crying shame upon them for cowards and no men, and exhorting them thus: "Why! would ye rather be certainly killed by the heathen Danes than die in arms for your own land?" Ashamed, and yet encouraged, the fugitives rallied, and with the three dauntless peasants at their head fell upon their astonished pursuers, and fought with such desperation that they turned defeat into victory. Kenneth III., the Scottish king, instantly sent for the saviors of his army, gave them a large share of the enemy's spoils, and made them march in triumph into Perth with their bloody plough-yokes on their shoulders. More than that, he ennobled them, and gave them a fair tract of land, to be measured, according to the fashion of that day, by the flight of a falcon. From the name of this land the Hays came to be called; lords of Erroll, and it is said that the Hawk Stone at St. Madoes, Perthshire, which stands upon what is known to have been the ancient boundary of the possessions of the Hays, is the identical stone from which the lucky falcon started. It was left standing as a special memorial of the defeat of the Danes at Loncarty. Another stone famous in the Hay annals, and conspicuously placed in front of the entrance to Slains Castle, is said to be the same on which the peasant general rested after his toilsome leadership in the battle.

Our walks over the bleak moors on one side, with the heather in bloom and the blackberries in low—lying purple clusters fringing the granite rocks, were sometimes rendered more interesting, though more dangerous, by the sudden falling of a thick white mist. Slowly it would come at first, gathering little filmy clouds together as it were, and hovering over the gray sea in curling tufts, and then, growing strong and dense, would swoop down irresistibly, till what was clear five minutes before was impenetrably walled off, and one seemed to stand alone in a silent world of ghosts. Or again, our walks would take us on the other side, over the Sands of Forvie, a desolate tract where nothing grows save the coarse grass called bent by the Scotch, and where the wearied eye rests on nothing but mounds of shifting sand, drearily shaped into the semblance of graves by the keen winds that blow from over the German Ocean.

This miniature desert, tradition says, was an Eden four hundred years ago, but a wicked guardian robbed the helpless orphan heiresses of it by fraud and violence, and the maidens threw a spell or weird upon it in these terms:

"Yf evyr maydens malysone

Did licht upon drye lande,

Let nocht bee funde in Furvye's glebys

Bot thystl, bente and sande."

I must not forget the "Bullers," a natural curiosity which is the boast of the neighborhood of Slains, and is moreover connected with a feat performed by a former guest and friend of one of the lords of Erroll. We drove there in a large party, and passed through an untidy, picturesque little fishing-hamlet on our way, where the women talked to each other in Gaelic as they stood barefooted at the doors of their cabins, and where the children looked so hardy, fearless and determined that the wildest dreams of future possible achievement [pg 653] seemed hardly unlikely of realization in connection with any one of them.

"The Pot," as it is locally called, is a huge rocky cavern, irregularly circular and open to the sky, into which the sea rushes through a natural archway. A narrow pathway is left quite round the basin, from which one looks down a sheer descent of more than a hundred feet; but this is so dangerous, the earth and coarse grass that carpet it so deceptive and loose, and the wind almost always so high on this spot, that only the most foolhardy or youngest of visitors would dare in broad daylight to attempt to walk round it. Yet it is on record that the duke of Richmond, some sixty or seventy years ago, made a bet at Lord Erroll's dinner-table that he would ride round it after dark. He accomplished the feat in safety. His picture, life-size, hangs in the dining-room to this day, and as he is represented standing in all the pride of a vigorous manhood by the side of his beautiful charger, he does not seem to belie the reputation which this incident created for him in the old district of Buchan.

The peasants of this wild and primitive neighborhood, though to some extent slightly infected by modernization, are yet very fair specimens of the hardy, trusty clansmen of Scottish history, and the present owners of Slains certainly give them every reason to keep up the old bonds of affectionate interest with every one and everything belonging to "the family." To my own observation of the ancient seat of the Hays I owe one of the most delightful recollections of my life, that of a Christian home. Not only the outward observances, but the inner spiritual vitality of religion, were there, while unselfish devotion to all within the range of her influence or authority marked the character of her who was at the head of this little family kingdom. The present head of the house, a Hay to the backbone, has triumphantly carried on the martial traditions of his ancestry, and on the roll of England's victorious sons at the battle of the Alma his name is to be found. He was there disabled by a wound that shattered his right arm and cut short his military career. Domestic happiness, however, is no bad substitute for a brilliant public life, and there are duties, higher yet than a soldier's, that go far toward making up that background of rural prosperity which alone ensures the grand effect of military successes. After having done one's duty in the field, it is to the full as noble, and perhaps more patriotic, to turn to the duties of the glebe, thereby finishing as a landlord the work begun as a soldier.

It is a touching custom, hardly yet obliterated in the district over which my reminiscences have led me, for one peasant, when coming upon another employed in his lawful calling, thus to salute him: "Guid speed the wark!" the rejoinder being, in the same broad Buchan dialect, "Thank ye: I wish ye weel."

I can end these pages with no more fitting sentiment. As a tribute of grateful recollection to those who made my days at Slains a happiness to me, and in the first fresh sorrow of a deep bereavement offered me distractions the more alluring because the more associated with Nature's changeless, silent grandeur, I pen these lines, crowning them with the homely Scottish wish that wherever they are and whatever they do, "Guid speed the wark!"


Footnote 1: (return)

There is another version of her courtship, and this a metrical one. This old ballad was not much known beyond the district round Slains, and the old servants and farmers on the estate were the chief depositaries of the tradition. I have failed to secure more than a very small fragment of it, which is itself only written down from memory by one of these old women. The rhyme and rhythm are both original:

Lady Mary Hay went to a wedding

Near the famous town of Reading:

There a gentleman she saw

That belonged to the law....

Here evidently there occurs a hiatus, during which some account is probably begun of her unreturned attachment, for a little later we find in the very primitive manuscript from which we quote these words of the countess:

I that have so many slighted,

I am at last—(unrequited?)

The story is now carried on in prose (my informant having forgotten the text of the ballad), and says that "Lady Mary wanted or challenged him to meet her in a masquerade" (probably meaning a duel in disguise), "and that his father told him to go." Neither father nor son seems to have known the fair challenger's rank, though the following words point to their being aware of her sex, for the elder Falconer is represented as saying,

If she is rich she will raise your fame,

And if poor you are the same.

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We were soon comfortably settled in the old Hof. The spacious rooms, always deliciously cool, were fragrant with rare and delicate blossoms—Alpine roses from the rocks, white lilies from Moidel's special little garden-plot, grasses and nodding flowers, campanulas, veronicas, melisot, potentillas and lady's bedstraw, which, according to Anton, no cattle would touch, whilst the roots of others were good for man or beast, their various qualities being all known to him. But soon the waving flowers bent beneath the scythe. It was the eve of St. Peter and St. Paul's Day, a festival when all work must cease, and the Hofbauer, whose word was law, had given orders that the hay in the wood-meadow must be carried that evening. Seeing, therefore, that the more hands there were the better, the two Margarets seized each a rake and worked as hard as any woman in the field.

On we labored, the golden evening sun glinting down upon our picturesque row of haymakers, nor did we cease until the angelus sounded from the village spire. Then Anton, Jakob, Moidel, their men and maids, fell devoutly upon their knees and thanked God that Christ Jesus had been born. These humble Tyrolese remember thrice daily to praise the Lord, as David did. With a hushed, subdued look upon their honest faces, they arose, and we joining them the fresh, fragrant hay was carted triumphantly home. The hay is cut long before we should consider it ready, and is housed whilst still green and moist. The newer the hay the richer the cream, they say. The Hofbauer has three crops yearly, but his neighbors, who lie higher, have only two, and sometimes but one.

The good old Kathi stood at the door cooling a gigantic pan of buckwheat polenta, and when she had set down this dish, intended for the haymakers' supper, she brought us each, as our pay, a couple of krapfen, which are oblong dough-cakes fried in butter.

Although the haymakers were worn out and weary with a long day's work of twelve hours, still Rosenkranz sounded in the chapel like the humming of bees in lime trees. This pious custom duly impressed us, until on the very next day, as we walked up our village street on the evening of the festival, our solemn feelings received a great check. We observed that the prayer-leaders, who knelt at the open windows of each separate house, followed our every movement with their eyes, whilst their mouths mechanically repeated sonorous Ave Marias and Paternosters. Nay, there was our own pious Moidel watching us from the kitchen window, her Hail Marys mingling with her friendly greetings; but then Moidel was waiting upon us and our supper whilst her family were on their knees in the chapel. Still, we soon learnt to perceive that Rosenkranz was considered quite as efficacious if merely uttered by the tongue, whilst the mind was far away. This being a festival, and no one tired with work, the household trooped into the old pleasaunce after supper. The elders sat together in a row, whilst the younger members congregated on a second long stone bench and struck up singing, Moidel and her elder brother beginning with a duet:

Green, green is the clover

On the hills as I go,

And my maiden as fresh is

As spring water's flow.

And the chorus joined in—

As spring water's flow,

winding up with a jodel.

Nanni, the chief maid, next sang in a clear, flexible voice, which trembled no little when she perceived that the Herrschaft now formed part of the audience in the balcony—

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On Sunday I cried, for my heart was so sore,

Like a poor little child outside the church door;

On Monday I felt so afeard and alone,

And thought, Were I a swallow, I'd quickly begone:

Woe's me! were I but a swallow, were I but a swallow!

On Tuesday, and nothing could please me all day,

For him that I love best is far, far away;

On Wednesday whatever I did, I did ill,

For when the heart's heavy the hand has no skill;

On Thursday I was weary and sleepy all day;

On Friday, and one of the cows went astray;

On Saturday down poured my tears like the rain,

As though I should never be happy again.

Woe's me! never be happy again; woe's me! never again.

In order to catch the meaning of the words, which were sung in strong dialect, Margaret and I had descended to the garden. The Hofbauer looked sad when he saw us approach, and quietly brushed a tear away with his shirt-sleeve. We consequently asked Moidel when we stood alone with her whether anything were troubling her father.

"It strikes me not," she said. "I fancy that it is but the music. Father and uncle may both seem quiet and dull now, yet they have been celebrated singers; only when my mother died father left off singing, and so did uncle after Uncle Jakob's death."

"Ah yes!" said the aunt, who had also joined us, "they were the three handsomest, best—grown men in the parish, living happily together without an ill word, until four years ago Jakob was trampled upon by a yoke of vicious oxen, and in three days he was dead. Yes, that was a sorrow almost as cutting as the death of the Hofbauerin, so young when she died. Only married five years, and leaving four little children, not one of whom ever knew her! Yes, Moidel is a good girl, and is wearing her linen now, but she can never come up in looks to her mother. Ah ja! and now the trouble is about Jakob."

"About Jakob?" asked we in a low, astonished voice.

"Why yes, that he has been drawn for the Landwehr. Ah, I thought you knew. It was last autumn that he was drawn. The Hofbauer would have sold his best acres to release him, but the recruiting-officer would have no nay: Jakobi was a fine, well-behaved young fellow, and such were needed in the army. He had to serve two months this spring, and with his comrades day by day had to run up the face of mountains some four thousand feet. It quite wore Jakob out, though he is so good-tempered. He declared that he was used, to be sure, at the Olm to climb up to the glaciers of the Hoch Gall after his goats, often bringing the kids in his arms down the precipices, but to have his back broken and his feet blistered in order to know how to shed human blood was what he hated. Yet he bore it so well, doing his best, that when the other recruits could return to their homes, Jakob, being so clever and well-behaved, had to stay a fortnight longer to brush, fold up and put away all the regimentals. However, the under-officer did have him to dine with him every day."

"Yes, and Jakob will in his turn be an officer," we replied, trying to reassure her.

"Oh, na, na, that can never be: eleven more long years must he serve, and always as a private. I thought like you, until the Hofbauer explained to me that all the officers were foreigners—Saxons, Bavarians, Würtembergers, put in by the Austrian ministry, who are tyrants to Tyrol. Ah, if the good emperor would only interfere, for he loves Tyrol! but he leaves everything to the ministry. Austria may itself be overthrown in these unrighteous days before my Jakobi is free." Now it was the good soul's turn to wipe her eye with the corner of her ample blue apron.

We were venturing some fresh attempt at consolation when fortunately an event occurred which drew her thoughts from the deep shadow which we had just discovered hung over the peaceful Hof. Jodokus, the village schoolmaster in the winter, when the children had time to learn, but during the busy summer months one of the men, had challenged Jakobi to a wrestling-match. Hardly had the two antagonists encountered each other on the grass in a stout set-to, when the sound of the goatherd's whip [pg 656] was heard on the hilly common above, sending forth a succession of reports like those of a pistol, becoming stronger and louder when the game and the assembled company were seen. At last the young "whipper-snapper," as we called him, made one long final succession of cracks and reports, and springing over the wall, and casting his instrument of torture on one side, he boldly challenged Anton.

The young man, whose skill and strength were well known, smiled, half amused, half incredulous, on his antagonist. The younger athlete, a lad of thirteen, firmly built and agile, mistook the look for a sneer, and the blood ran fast and hot into his face. So, Anton accepting the challenge, they immediately began to spar. They first fearlessly regarded each other, then bowing their heads they rushed forward, butting like rams. The lad, with his head fixed firm in Anton's chest, tried to find his adversary's weakest point, and with his arms round his waist endeavored cunningly to make him slip; but it was soon the young champion who was tripped up, and who in playful, half-serious anger dealt blows and tugs right and left, almost managing to bring Anton sprawling to the ground. The lad, however, suddenly stopped: he had lost a little tin ring off his finger and a four-kreuzer piece from his pocket—too great a loss for a shepherd-boy. The combat therefore was speedily closed, both antagonists and their partisans hunting in the unmowed grass until the treasures were again trove.

At the same time an elderly man approached and opened the gate—a peasant evidently, although, instead of the usual long white apron and bib, he wore one of new green linen, shining as satin—a man of a strong although delicate make, the head slightly stooping forward, and a face that beamed with genuine pleasure as half a dozen voices simultaneously burst forth with a "God greet you, Alois!"

This then was Schuster (or Shoe-maker) Alois, in preparation of whose advent the good aunt had scrubbed a bed-room, and Moidel had beautified the window with pots of blooming geraniums. The room was a large chamber, set apart for the different ambulatory work-people who came to the Hof in the course of the year. The weaver, who arrived in the spring to weave the flax which the busy womankind had spun through the winter, had been the last occupant of the room, and had woven no less than two hundred and ninety-three ells of linen, which now in long symmetrical lines were carefully pegged down on the turf of the pleasaunce by Moidel, who walked over them daily with her bare feet, busily watering until the gray threads were turning snowy white.

Later on in the year the sewing-woman would appear, and then the tailor, to make the clothing for this large household, the servants, according to an old custom long since extinct in most countries, being chiefly paid in kind. Schuster Alois had now come to make the boots for Jakob and the Senner Franz preparatory to their going with the cattle to the Alpine pastures.

I greatly doubt whether the tailor or the weaver was so well waited upon as the shoemaker: I fancy they were left more to the maids. Passing the open door of the family house-place, aunt and niece might now be seen sitting hour after hour, the elder lining the soles of Jakob's stockings with pieces of strong woolen to prevent mending on the Alp, or attending to other needs of his homely toilet; the younger at her paste-board or kneading-trough, whilst Schuster Alois sat between them in the sunny oriel window, and while he steadily plied his awl appeared to be either telling them tales or reciting poetry.

The Alp, or Olm (to use the provincial word), lay at the distance of about six hours, and the Hofbauer went up to examine the state of the pasturage before his son and the cattle finally started. In two days he returned. "The going up of the cattle must be postponed at least a week," he said, "for snow had fallen at the huts the depth of a man; and the river had swollen to such a [pg 657] height that it had carried two houses away in St. Wolfgang, the highest mountain-village; and even life had been lost."

This delay caused a respite from hard work. The next morning Alois's arms did not move like unwearying machinery, and, the ten o'clock-dinner being over, we saw him seated at his ease on the adjoining hillside. Should we go and speak to him? He appeared different from the ordinary run of his class (though cobblers are often clever men enough), and moreover of a decidedly friendly turn of mind. We determined that we would. We joined Alois on the stony, waste hillside, crowned by two trees with a crucifix in the centre, which formed from the house, with its background of mountains, ever a melancholy, soul-touching little poem.

"You have not quite such hard work to-day, Schuster?"

He smiled and said, "Do your work betimes, and then rest; and where better than under the shadow of the cross?"

"Yes, and the crucifix which you have chosen is more pleasing than the generality which are sown broadcast over the fields of the Tyrol. Why are they made so hideous and revolting?"

We spoke out freely, because the unusually intelligent face before us evidently belonged to a thinker. Candor of speech pleased him. Nevertheless, he answered as if musing, "They appear ugly to you: well they may be. Ja, but the most who look upon them are men and women acquainted with many sorrows—sudden deaths by falls from precipices, destruction of house and home by lightning, floods, avalanches, failure of crops, and many another visitation—and it soothes their perhaps selfish natures to see these anguished features, these blood-stained limbs—signs of still greater suffering—whilst they pray that only such crosses may be laid on them as will keep them in obedience to His will. Just before you came up the hill I was thinking of a strange history connected with a crucifix—one that I read only ten days ago in the house of a Hochmair himself."

It merely needed silence for Schuster Alois to repeat the tale, and he soon began: "It is the Tyroler Adolph Pichler who narrates it. He says that once in his rambles he came to a little chapel, over which hung a blasted larch—such a desolate wreck of a tree that he naturally asked the guide he had with him why it was not cut down. Now, the guide was an old man who knew every, tradition and legend, besides all the family histories in that part of the Tyrol. 'That tree,' said he, 'is left there purposely, as the reminder of a great crime, and nobody would think of touching it. If you look into the chapel, you'll see a Christ on the cross which has been shot through the breast. That was once a crucifix under this very tree.' Then the guide made a remark which had often struck myself—that there are some families in which everything that is strange and dreadful happens, whilst there are others that go on for generations and are no more distinguishable than the very weeds themselves. In that valley were the Hochmairs, and they were of this prominent sort, and odd enough, as I said before, it was at a Hochmair's house that I read this account. Well, some generations back there was a Hochmair who was a regular ruffian. He cared no more for the life of a man than that of a chamois. The government kept the game strictly on the mountains, and he was suspected of having put more than one of their keepers out of the way. In short, he had such a bad character that when he went to confession the priest would not give him absolution. This put him in a great rage, and it is remarkable that from that day his luck in hunting forsook him. He could not take aim—a sort of mist was ever before his eyes, his hand trembled. People believed that he was perpetually haunted by the ghost of a young man whom, after he had shot, he had beaten to death with his gunstock, and then flung down a crevasse. Be that as it may, he would be absent for weeks in the mountains. He did no good, and the little he possessed fell into ruin.

"His creditors were about to sell him [pg 658] up, stick and stone, when he put, as one may say, the finishing stroke to everything himself. It was Corpus Christi Day: the bells were ringing and the procession moving through the fields, the holy banners waving, the choir-boys singing the sanctus, when just as the priest lifted the Host in the golden monstrance, a shot was fired from the bushes in front of a crucifix. Lightning flashed from heaven, and the house of the wicked Hochmair, which was at no great distance, burst into flames. An awful cry rang from the bushes: the procession rushed forward, the priest only remaining with the Host and a few attendants. And what did they see? There was the image of the crucified Saviour pierced by a bullet, and out in the road stood the wretched Hochmair, with his hands clasped on the lock of his gun and his eyes rolling in frenzy. Everybody perceived the crime he had committed, and remained motionless, whilst he beckoned wildly to the priest, who came up in gloomy silence. After they had talked together alone for some time, the priest went into the church, where he remained all night in prayer. The wretched man, whom nobody dared to touch, disappeared into the thicket, and all trace was lost of him. In the mean while the injured image of the Saviour was removed into the church. So years went on, and then one Sunday after service the priest announced from the pulpit that the former sinner Hochmair was dead, but that after years of penitence he had received the forgiveness of the Church and of God. 'Therefore,' said the good man, 'let all forgive him, and remember only their own sins, and pray Christ to be merciful to them.' After that it was known that he had become possessed with the crazy notion that if he fired into the breast of the Saviour on Corpus Christi Day, just when the Host was being elevated and the benediction spoken, it would make his gun unerring. He fired therefore, and at the same moment the Saviour on the cross raised His head and, fixing on him His eyes full of tears, gave him a look which pierced him to the very marrow, and that terrified him far more than the lightning which, flashing from his forehead, set fire to his house, whilst the thorn-crowned countenance seemed to float before him, and he knew that this was his punishment. Such was his confession at the time to the priest who laid the penance of the Church upon him. So he went out into the world like another Cain, and God in His own time was merciful to him. Still, the wounded effigy of the Saviour and the blasted larch tree remain as witnesses on earth against him.

"And," continued Schuster Alois, "that is only one tale amongst the hundreds which could be related concerning these crucifixes. Ah, there is many an old, bleached, weather-beaten crucifix on crag or highway-side from which the anguished face of the Saviour has both smitten and healed the sinner. Crucifixes cut deeper into most Tyrolese hearts than shrines, some way."

"Strange," we replied, "for these old shrines are not only quaint, but often beautiful, as, for instance, the one on the roadside turning into town."

"Ah, I am glad you like it," said Alois, "for there are those who would wish it pulled down and a lofty wooden cross, as a landmark, placed there instead. The Capuchins in the adjoining monastery are opposed to it, however, and no wonder. Have you ever remarked," he continued, becoming quite aglow, "that although it is greatly injured and many of the figures lost, still there are others who look at you so calmly and seriously with their marred, dilapidated countenances that you feel a peace steal into your heart? And whoever the painter was, he must have loved his work, for Saint Gregory could never have been more dignified in real life than he looks in the shrine."

"Are you a painter?" we asked, almost without knowing what we were saying, for it was hardly probable.

"Oh, I only touch colors now and then, when there's a purpose in it or I can serve the Church," he returned. He became embarrassed, and explained that it was time to return to his work.

We afterward learnt from Moidel that [pg 659] Alois bore in the neighborhood far and wide the reputation of an artist, although he did not consider himself such, seeing he could not paint saints and angels. It was, however, a great source of pleasure to him to paint mottoes and devices and to arrange floral decorations, especially when they could serve as a surprise for some private name-day or church festival.

One afternoon we were told that the boots were made, that Anton had brought the flour from the mill, that two hundred loaves of rye bread were baked, and, the weather being sufficiently fine and all the preparations being completed, the cattle would now start for the Olm. First, Anton and the Senner Franz set off at four o'clock in the afternoon, with the calves in advance, the young things being unable to keep up with the cattle. Then a leiterwagen which had been drawn into the lower corridor and filled with sacks of flour, meal, salt and the two hundred loaves, was driven by the Hofbauer as far as Taufers, whence the supplies for the Alpine residents would be borne on men's backs up to the huts.

In the evening Jakob came into the grand old sitting-room to bid us good-bye. He appeared in his shirt-sleeves and the indispensable white apron, and with the utmost self-possession and refinement of manner he presented us with a little bouquet of edelweiss, promising to send us down a larger supply by his brother. We talked with him about the Olm, and found him enthusiastic on the subject, his one regret being that, as he must return for several weeks of drilling on August 22d, his stay there this summer would be greatly curtailed. The Olm was very extensive, lying on a mountain-platform which was only bare of snow for about three months in the year. When, however, the snow was off, the flowers came up by thousands, the grass sprang up by magic, all the mountains were filled with the rushing and roaring sound of waters, which came down in foaming cascades, often of wonderful beauty, amongst the rocks and the pine woods which clothed the steeper mountain-sides. Nor was the life at all solitary, for various farmers were sending up their cattle to other Olms about the same time, so that no one was without neighbors, although they might be at a considerable distance apart.

Jakob spoke on until we became wild to go up to the Olm too. "Could we go thither," we asked, "and pay him a visit?"

"That we could," he replied, "if we did not mind sleeping in the hay. Only we had better wait for settled weather in August."

There was now no talk of our leaving the Hof at St. Jakobi. The Hofbauer had declared that the house was at our disposal until Martinmas—longer if we wanted it. He also fell into the scheme of our visiting his Olm, where he intimated his desire to be host, saying that all the dairy produce would be at our service.

In the night, exactly at one o'clock, Jakob and Jodokus started: we heard them go, the cattle-bells ringing and the "Leben Sie wohl!" "Behüt Euch Gott!" shouted lovingly after them from the open door and the lower windows of the silent old mansion. Six and twenty head of cattle: the goats, pigs and sheep were to follow later. It was a calm and beautiful night, the three-quarters moon just dropping behind the mountains, and the stars shining out brightly from the dark cloudless sky.


The Alpine caravansary was hardly settled at the Olm when the air became intensely hot and oppressive. Day by day black thunder-clouds gathered on the horizon. They crested the mountains in three directions, at times appearing to repel each other, at others marching fiercely on to conflict, when, the zenith becoming pitch-dark, they flung out long spears of lightning and exploded in overwhelming thunder. Very terrible were these perpetual storms. With the first peal the church-bells along the valley began solemnly to toll. It mattered not whether by night or day, the faithful bellringer was at his post, and [pg 660] with rain pouring down outside and fiery, vivid lightning playing around him, he still went tolling on, for evil spirits must be driven away, and people reminded to make the sign of the cross and pray God to protect them.

At length, to use an expression of Alois's, "Saint Florian had left off playing at skittles, and Saint Leonhard had driven his hay over the heavenly bridge." The warring elements were still, but the earth seemed smouldering with heat, and we panted and gasped after the lofty mountain-slopes which lay on all sides. At the same time it came most opportunely to our knowledge that the Tyrol was rich in baths—primitive establishments most of them, but dotted over mountain and valley, so that each village had half a dozen to choose from, where every peasant, be he ever so poor, could at least dip and soak for an eight-days' sommerfrisch. Why, then, should not the two Margarets, they being the most desirous of a change, have at least a sommerfrisch?

But which amongst all these baths was the one to choose? Good Kathi recommended her baths at Innichen. She herself evidently did not derive much pleasure from her yearly visits there. Still, we, being ladies, would find more people to talk to, and the bath-house, which was always full to overflowing, stood in a wood, and we liked trees. Schuster Alois—for the conversation took place before he left—said that most gentlefolks went to Maistall. There was not only luxus, but a great deal of life and spirit there. His Majesty Emperor Max as early as 1511 took up his quarters at Maistall during his campaign against the Venetians, and he had heard say that in the last century the visitors formed a society and made it a rule that none but the purest German should be spoken. Every fault of pronunciation cost a kreuzer to the offender: the money went to the chapel, and amounted one season to twenty-one florins six kreuzers.

But one Margaret decidedly objected to going to a place where there was the faintest chance of her loiter wagon for leiterwagen, her pison for speisen, her vulgarborn for wohlgeboren, being fined by a gazel-schaft (gesellschaft). Besides, these places sounded too grand: we did not want a Gastein, but a Wildbad, if one could be found that did not belie its name. So the peasant-baths of St. Vigil, Mühlbach and Scharst were named to us, and the lot fell upon Scharst, we having heard that all the school-children in town had just been taken there for a long day's holiday, and had returned to their proud and happy parents, who waited for them in double ranks below, radiant with pleasure, waving their banners and Alpine roses.

It was accordingly arranged that on the following Sunday Anton should drive us to Reischach, where there was to be a great festival, with candles in the church as big as a man's arm: so said a woman from Reischach. Anton was of a retiring nature, and did not like crowds, but he would gladly drive the ladies over. And at Reischach we should be sure to find some peasant returning that evening by Scharst, who could carry our belongings.

Imagine us, therefore, at Reischach, the church-bell ringing for vespers, which begin at one o'clock. We wear bouquets of carnations and rosemary, presented to us by the family at the Hof, as correct decorations for a festival. And Anton!—how to present him to you as he deserves to be presented? His truthful, guileless face is his best ornament: nevertheless, he too wears carnations and rosemary caught in the silver cord and vieing with the silver tassels of his broad-brimmed, low-crowned beaver hat. His rough jacket, made by the tailor last autumn, and therefore too new to be worn on a less special occasion, is short and loose enough to leave ample space for the display of his rauge, or broad leather belt of softest chamois-skin, worked in scrolls surrounding his name, with split peacock quills, no little resembling Indian handicraft. His snow-white knees appear between his short leather breeches and his bright blue knitted stockings. These Nature's garters, when perfectly white, are regarded as a mark of great [pg 661] distinction amongst the dandies, and those of our Anton may be considered the very knee plus ultra.

A parliament of men—a few still in breeches with Hessian boots, which appeared a characteristic of Reischach, but the majority, having succumbed to modern ideas, wearing trowsers—were seated in the shadow of a comfortable house, discussing the different stages of their rye and flax crops. Their wives and daughters, following their natural impulse, were already kneeling in church, confiding their cares of kitchen and farmyard to the ever-ready ear of Mutter Gottes—one dense mass of simple, believing women, in broad-brimmed beaver hats, with here and there a conical woolen beehive as a contrast.

The church in itself, although it lacked the candles as big as a man's arm, must truly have shone like the gate of heaven to peasant eyes. Many of the more substantial families had lent their private saints for the occasion. They had brought Holy Nothburgs and Saint Leonhards and Virgins, generally preserved in wardrobes at home, but now brought to participate in the festival, besides adding to its great solemnity. It was Scapulary Sunday, we were told, and although the words conveyed no clear idea to us, we were soon to learn their significance. A Tyrolese anthem having been sung by some invisible voices, in which jodels leapt up and smothered Gregorians, a middle-aged Capuchin took his stand in the pulpit, and having greeted the congregation, promised to explain to them the mystery and the advantage of the Holy Scapulary.

"My beloved," he began, "there are some who think too little of the scapulary, and there are others who lay too great a stress on this aid to faith. Let us meditate on both these conditions. But first, how must we ourselves regard the scapulary? Now, we are told not to love the world nor the things of the world. The scapulary, with its sacred image of Mary worn next the heart, is a great shield against this love of the world. It places you under the especial protection of the Queen of Heaven: you are as much her servant as those who serve king or kaiser, and equally wear her livery. Some think too little of the scapulary. Yet what incidents can be told of its efficacy! Let one suffice. In the year 1866, when the war raged between Austria and Prussia, the Catholic soldiers of the latter country immediately before the war entered by hundreds into the Society of the Scapulary. Wearing this sacred charm upon their hearts, they went into the battle-field, and the cannons roared and the bullets whizzed thick and fast around them, and not one of them fell, for they wore the scapulary. Indeed, their miraculous preservation created so much excitement that Lutherans marveled over it, and asked the Catholics how it came that they were no whit hurt. And they answered, 'We wear the scapulary of Mary, and she saves us.' Then many Lutherans said, 'Come, we will have scapularies,' and wrote their names down in the society. And now hark ye, my brethren. There was a Catholic soldier, and there was a Lutheran, and the latter said, 'Lend me thy scapulary for this one day only, and see, here is a thaler for thee.' Then the foolish Catholic drew the scapulary off his neck, handed it to the Lutheran, took the thaler, went into battle: whiz went the bullets round him, and he fell."

We could stand no more. The church, now crowded with men as well as women, reeked with perspiration, the sermon oppressed us, and thus our sense and senses drove us out into the open air. Here the fresh breeze came across from the Ziller snow-fields, health-giving as a breath from heaven. Peasant-women who were too late to squeeze into church were seated amongst the iron crosses of the graves. The more serious-minded had managed to cluster together round a side-door which, being adjacent to the pulpit, proved an advantageous spot for hearing. The less particular sat in the shade, feeling it sufficient to be in holy ground and to pass their beads through their fingers whilst they studied up our novel attire. Approaching the more attentive members, we [pg 662] found that the Capuchin had reached the second part of his discourse, and was dilating on those who thought too highly of the scapulary. We gathered the following fragment:

"Now, the man was nigh unto death, and it was neither for confession nor for the death-sacrament that he craved. No, it was for a scapulary. 'A scapulary!' he cried, 'a scapulary!' My brethren, you know well he should have asked for the priest and for the blessing of the Church, but it was merely for a scapulary."

Later on we asked permission to see a scapulary. It consisted of two small squares of cloth, herring-boned round the edge, and united by a narrow ribbon of sufficient length to permit one square to rest on the breast, whilst the other hung between the shoulders. That in front bore the image of the Virgin, designed by the nuns in the convent, whilst the simpler work had been given to some poor old woman, or even man, who was past harder employment. The privilege of wearing this charmed badge entailed the payment of a small yearly subscription and the repetition of seven Paternosters daily.

The procession followed the sermon. Mary, Joseph, Saint Nothburg (once a good peasant-girl, now a saint) were paraded round the village by children, and borne back to church. Peasant-men staggered under large silk banners, which swayed and fluttered in the blustery wind, and, but for the steady grasp of the strong men who carried them, threatening at each moment to crush the pious throng. The four chief peasants of the district, wearing their robes of state, the Noah's ark coats in which they were married, bore the baldachin over the head of the Capuchin who elevated the Host: the village priest, in white surplice and Hessian boots, swung the censer at his side. The men were in front, the women, a long, broad file, divided in the procession by the priests from their male relations, followed—a dense black mass, but relieved in color by the whiteness of their short linen sleeves.

Men and women, carefully severed in their prayers and on the very steps of the altar by Holy Church, were soon able to come together again under the spacious, hospitable roof of Herr Kappler, the wirth. Innumerable clean wooden tables, forms, and stiff, high-legged wooden chairs were ranged up stairs and down stairs and in the orchard without, for the accommodation of the scapularists and their friends.

We sat at a side-table in an upper room partaking of grilled fowl and salad, whilst buben and their dirnen, or lads and their lasses, middle-aged couples, old men and women, poured into the house, filling every chair, bench and table. They came thither from all the country-side, and endless were the greetings amongst cousins and cousins' cousins. The Tyrolese, like the Scotch, keep up every link of relationship, claiming the fiftieth cousin. Relationship, in fact, never does die out; and though it may become an abstract during busy seasons of ploughing and sowing, it becomes a strong reality at wakes and festivals. Thus, at Kappler's, on this scapulary afternoon, Barthel's brother-in-law's cousin drank with "Cousin Barthel," and Seppl's sister-in-law's niece was treated by "Onkel Seppl." There was one square-built, good-humored old man who appeared to be the whole world's cousin: he passed from table to table, and had to sip from fifty offered glasses.

With our delicious coffee and boiled cream we ordered the host, as a suitable person, to find us a guide to carry our valise and shawls to Bad Scharst. Probably the perpetual and loud demands for pints of wine left him but little time to make a wise selection, seeing that there soon stood before us a small man with so subtle and malignant a look that his exorbitant demand made us only too gladly dismiss him. Our confidence shaken in the landlord's powers of discrimination, we sent word below that if Anton had returned we should be glad to speak with him. He had been in the village to visit his cousins, but was waiting our orders below. Although his native shyness made it hard for him [pg 663] to step forward and address ladies under the curious gaze of all the relative Seppls and Barthels, he did it with manliness, and turning round and addressing the popular old man as Hansel, asked him if his brother Jörgel were below; and being answered in the affirmative, he hastened away, and returned with another compact little peasant, whom he introduced to us as Senner Franz's brother, with an aside, that he was "a friendly mortal and Count Arlberg's forester."

The agreement was soon made, the sullen-looking man glowering at us from behind a stack of firewood, whilst Hansel and Anton packed a kraxe or wooden frame and fixed it on Jörgel's back. As we set off, Anton drove away homeward, although the skittle-balls were just beginning to roll, and the sound of "I bin a lustiger bua" and other Tyrolese songs came floating from the windows.




I give God thanks that I, a lean old man,

Wrinkled, infirm, and crippled with keen pains

By austere penance and continuous toil,

Now rest in spirit, and possess "the peace

Which passeth understanding." Th' end draws nigh,

Though the beginning is as yesterday,

And a broad lifetime spreads 'twixt this and that—

A favored life, though outwardly the butt

Of ignominy, malice and affront,

Yet lighted from within by the clear star

Of a high aim, and graciously prolonged

To see at last its utmost goal attained.

I speak not of mine Order and my House,

Here founded by my hands and filled with saints—

A white society of snowy souls,

Swayed by my voice, by mine example led;

For this is but the natural harvest reaped

From labors such as mine when blessed by God.

Though I rejoice to think my spirit still

Will work my purposes, through worthy hands,

After my bones are shriveled into dust,

Yet have I gleaned a finer, sweeter fruit

Of holy satisfaction, sure and real,

Though subtler than the tissue of the air—

The power completely to detach the soul

From her companion through this life, the flesh;

So that in blessed privacy of peace,

Communing with high angels, she can hold,

Serenely rapt, her solitary course.

Ye know, O saints of heaven, what I have borne

Of discipline and scourge; the twisted lash

[pg 664]

Of knotted rope that striped my shrinking limbs;

Vigils and fasts protracted, till my flesh

Wasted and crumbled from mine aching bones,

And the last skin, one woof of pain and sores,

Thereto like yellow parchment loosely clung;

Exposure to the fever and the frost,

When 'mongst the hollows of the hills I lurked

From persecution of misguided folk,

Accustoming my spirit to ignore

The burden of the cross, while picturing

The bliss of disembodied souls, the grace

Of holiness, the lives of sainted men,

And entertaining all exalted thoughts,

That nowise touched the trouble of the hour,

Until the grief and pain seemed far less real

Than the creations of my brain inspired.

The vision, the beatitude, were true:

The agony was but an evil dream.

I speak not now as one who hath not learned

The purport of those lightly-bandied words,

Evil and Fate, but rather one who knows

The thunders of the terrors of the world.

No mortal chance or change, no earthly shock,

Can move or reach my soul, securely throned

On heights of contemplation and calm prayer,

Happy, serene, no less with actual joy

Of present peace than faith in joys to come.

This soft, sweet, yellow evening, how the trees

Stand crisp against the clear, bright-colored sky!

How the white mountain-tops distinctly shine,

Taking and giving radiance, and the slopes

Are purpled with rich floods of peach-hued light!

Thank God, my filmy, old dislustred eyes

Find the same sense of exquisite delight,

My heart vibrates to the same touch of joy

In scenes like this, as when my pulse danced high,

And youth coursed through my veins! This the one link

That binds the wan old man that now I am

To the wild lad who followed up the hounds

Among Ravenna's pine-woods by the sea.

For there how oft would I lose all delight

In the pursuit, the triumph or the game,

To stray alone among the shadowy glades,

And gaze, as one who is not satisfied

With gazing, at the large, bright, breathing sea,

The forest glooms, and shifting gleams between

The fine dark fringes of the fadeless trees,

On gold-green turf, sweetbrier and wild pink rose!

How rich that buoyant air with changing scent

Of pungent pine, fresh flowers and salt cool seas!

And when all echoes of the chase had died,

Of horn and halloo, bells and baying hounds,

How mine ears drank the ripple of the tide

[pg 665]

On that fair shore, the chirp of unseen birds,

The rustling of the tangled undergrowth,

And the deep lyric murmur of the pines,

When through their high tops swept the sudden breeze!

There was my world, there would my heart dilate,

And my aspiring soul dissolve in prayer

Unto that Spirit of Love whose energies

Were active round me, yet whose presence, sphered

In the unsearchable, unbodied air,

Made itself felt, but reigned invisible.

This ere the day that from my past divides

My present, and that made me what I am.

Still can I see the hot, bright sky, the sea

illimitably sparkling, as they showed

That morning. Though I deemed I took no note

Of heaven or earth or waters, yet my mind

Retains to-day the vivid portraiture

Of every line and feature of the scene.

Light-hearted 'midst the dewy lanes I fared

Unto the sea, whose jocund gleam I caught

Between the slim boles, when I heard the clink

Of naked weapons, then a sudden thrust

Sickening to hear, and then a stifled groan;

And pressing forward I beheld the sight

That seared itself for ever on my brain—

My kinsman, Ser Ranieri, on the turf,

Fallen upon his side, his bright young head

Among the pine-spurs, and his cheek pressed close

Unto the moist, chill sod: his fingers clutched

A handful of loose weeds and grass and earth,

Uprooted in his anguish as he fell,

And slowly from his heart the thick stream flowed,

Fouling the green, leaving the fair, sweet face

Ghastly, transparent, with blue, stony eyes

Staring in blankness on that other one

Who triumphed over him. With hot desire

Of instant vengeance I unsheathed my sword

To rush upon the slayer, when he turned

In his first terror of blood-guiltiness.

Within my heart a something snapped and brake.

What was it but the chord of rapturous joy

For ever stilled? I tottered and would fall,

Had I not leaned against the friendly pine;

For all realities of life, unmoored

From their firm anchorage, appeared to float

Like hollow phantoms past my dizzy brain.

The strange delusion wrought upon my soul

That this had been enacted ages since.

This very horror curdled at my heart,

This net of trees spread round, these iron heavens,

Were closing over me when I had stood,

Unnumbered cycles back, and fronted him,

My father; and he felt mine eyes as now,

[pg 666]

Yet saw me not; and then, as now, that form,

The one thing real, lay stretched between us both.

The fancy passed, and I stood sane and strong

To grasp the truth. Then I remembered all—

A few fierce words between them yester eve

Concerning some poor plot of pasturage,

Soon silenced into courteous, frigid calm:

This was the end. I could not meet him now,

To curse him, to accuse him, or to save,

And draw him from the red entanglement

Coiled by his own hands round his ruined life.

God pardon me! My heart that moment held

No drop of pity toward this wretched soul;

And cowering down, as though his guilt were mine,

I fled amidst the savage silences

Of that grim wood, resolved to nurse alone

My boundless desolation, shame and grief.

There, in that thick-leaved twilight of high noon,

The quiet of the still, suspended air,

Once more my wandering thoughts were calmly ranged,

Shepherded by my will. I wept, I prayed

A solemn prayer, conceived in agony,

Blessed with response instant, miraculous;

For in that hour my spirit was at one

With Him who knows and satisfies her needs.

The supplication and the blessing sprang

From the same source, inspired divinely both.

I prayed for light, self-knowledge, guidance, truth,

And these like heavenly manna were rained down

To feed my hungered soul. His guilt was mine.

What angel had been sent to stay mine arm

Until the fateful moment passed away

That would have ushered an eternity

Of withering remorse? I found the germs

In mine own heart of every human sin,

That waited but occasion's tempting breath

To overgrow with poisoned bloom my life.

What God thus far had saved me from myself?

Here was the lofty truth revealed, that each

Must feel himself in all, must know where'er

The great soul acts or suffers or enjoys,

His proper soul in kinship there is bound.

Then my life-purpose dawned upon my mind,

Encouraging as morning. As I lay,

Crushed by the weight of universal love,

Which mine own thoughts had heaped upon myself,

I heard the clear chime of a slow, sweet bell.

I knew it—whence it came and what it sang.

From the gray convent nigh the wood it pealed,

And called the monks to prayer. Vigil and prayer,

Clean lives, white days of strict austerity:

Such were the offerings of these holy saints.

How far might such not tend to expiate

[pg 6790]

A riotous world's indulgence? Here my life,

Doubly austere and doubly sanctified,

Might even for that other one atone,

So bound to mine, till both should be forgiven.

They sheltered me, not questioning the need

That led me to their cloistered solitude.

How rich, how freighted with pure influence,

With dear security of perfect peace,

Was the first day I passed within those walls!

The holy habit of perpetual prayer,

The gentle greetings, the rare temperate speech,

The chastening discipline, the atmosphere

Of settled and profound tranquillity,

Were even as living waters unto one

Who perisheth of thirst. Was this the world

That yesterday seemed one huge battle-field

For brutish passions? Could the soul of man

Withdraw so easily, and erect apart

Her own fair temple for her own high ends?

But this serene contentment slowly waned

As I discerned the broad disparity

Betwixt the form and spirit of the laws

That bound the order in strait brotherhood.

Yet when I sought to gain a larger love,

More rigid discipline, severer truth,

And more complete surrender of the soul

Unto her God, this was to my reproach,

And scoffs and gibes beset me on all sides.

In mine own cell I mortified my flesh,

I held aloof from all my brethren's feasts

To wrestle with my viewless enemies,

Till they should leave their blessing on my head;

For nightly was I haunted by that face,

White, bloodless, as I saw it 'midst the ferns,

Now staring out of darkness, and it held

Mine eyes from slumber and my brain from rest

And drove me from my straw to weep and pray.

Rebellious thoughts such subtle torture wrought

Upon my spirit that I lay day-long

In dumb despair, until the blessed hope

Of mercy dawned again upon my soul,

As gradual as the slow gold moon that mounts

The airy steps of heaven. My faith arose

With sure perception that disaster, wrong,

And every shadow of man's destiny

Are merely circumstance, and cannot touch

The soul's fine essence: they exist or die

Only as she affirms them or denies.

This faith sustains me even to the end:

It floods my heart with peace as surely now

As on that day the friars drove me forth,

Urging that my asceticism, too harsh,

[pg 668]

Endured through pride, would bring into reproach

Their customs and their order. Then began

My exile in the mountains, where I bode

A hunted man. The elements conspired

Against me, and I was the seasons' sport,

Drenched, parched, and scorched and frozen alternately,

Burned with shrewd frosts, prostrated by fierce heats,

Shivering 'neath chilling dews and gusty rains,

And buffeted by all the winds of heaven.

Yet was this period my time of joy:

My daily thoughts perpetual converse held

With angels ministrant; mine ears were charmed

With sweet accordance of celestial sounds,

Song, harp and choir, clear ringing through the air.

And visions were revealed unto mine eyes

By night and day of Heaven's very courts,

In shadowless, undimmed magnificence.

I gave God thanks, not that He sheltered me,

And fed me as He feeds the fowls of air—

For had I perished, this too had been well—

But for the revelation of His truth,

The glory, the beatitude vouchsafed

To exalt, to heal, to quicken, to inspire;

So that the pinched, lean excommunicate

Was crowned with joy more solid, more secure,

Than all the comfort of the vales could bring.

Then the good Lord touched certain fervid hearts,

Aspiring toward His love, to come to me,

Timid and few at first; but as they heard

From mine own lips the precious oracles,

That soothed the trouble of their souls, appeased

Their spiritual hunger, and disclosed

All of the God within them to themselves,

They flocked about me, and they hailed me saint,

And sware to follow and to serve the good

Which my word published and my life declared.

Thus the lone hermit of the mountain-top

Descended leader of a band of saints,

And midway 'twixt the summit and the vale

I perched my convent. Yet I bated not

One whit of strict restraint and abstinence.

And they who love me and who serve the truth

Have learned to suffer with me, and have won

The supreme joy that is not of the flesh,

Foretasting the delights of Paradise.

This faith, to them imparted, will endure

After my tongue hath ceased to utter it,

And the great peace hath settled on my soul.


[pg 669]





Consider what a task this unhappy man Ingram had voluntarily undertaken! Here were two young people presumably in love. One of them was laid under suspicion by several previous love-affairs, though none of these, doubtless, had been so serious as the present. The other scarcely knew her own mind, or perhaps was afraid to question herself too closely, lest all the conflict between duty and inclination, with its fears and anxieties and troubles, should be too suddenly revealed. Moreover, this girl was the only daughter of a solitary and irascible old gentleman living in a remote island; and Ingram had not only undertaken that the love-affairs of the young folks should come all right—thus assuming a responsibility which might have appalled the bravest—but was also expected to inform the King of Borva that his daughter was about to be taken away from him.

Of course, if Sheila had been a properly brought-up young lady, nothing of this sort would have been necessary. We all know what the properly brought-up young lady does under such circumstances. She goes straight to her papa and mamma and says, "My dear papa and mamma, I have been taught by my various instructors that I ought to have no secrets from my dear parents; and I therefore hasten to lay aside any little shyness or modesty or doubt of my own wishes I might feel, for the purpose of explaining to you the extent to which I have become a victim to the tender passion, and of soliciting your advice. I also place before you these letters I have received from the gentleman in question: probably they were sent in confidence to me, but I must banish any scruples that do not coincide with my duty to you. I may say that I respect, and even admire, Mr. So-and-So; and I should be unworthy of the care bestowed upon my education by my dear parents if I were altogether insensible to the advantages of his worldly position. But beyond this point I am at a loss to define my sentiments; and so I ask you, my dear papa and mamma, for permission to study the question for some little time longer, when I may be able to furnish you with a more accurate report of my feelings. At the same time, if the interest I have in this young man is likely to conflict with the duty I owe to my dear parents, I ask to be informed of the fact; and I shall then teach myself to guard against the approach of that insidious passion which might make me indifferent to the higher calls and interests of life." Happy the man who marries such a woman! No agonizing quarrels and delirious reconciliations, no piteous entreaties and fits of remorse and impetuous self-sacrifices await him, but a beautiful, methodical, placid life, as calm and accurate and steadily progressive as the multiplication table. His household will be a miracle of perfect arrangement. The relations between the members of it will be as strictly defined as the pattern of the paper on the walls. And how can a quarrel arise when a dissecter of the emotions is close at hand to say where the divergence of opinion or interest began? and how can a fit of jealousy be provoked in the case of a person who will split up her affections into fifteen parts, give ten-fifteenths to her children, three-fifteenths to her parents, and the remainder to her husband? Should there be any dismal fractions going about, friends and acquaintances may come in for them.

But how was Sheila to go to her father and explain to him what she could not explain to herself? She had never dreamed of marriage. She had never thought of having to leave Borva and her father's house. But she had some vague feeling [pg 670] that in the future lay many terrible possibilities that she did not as yet dare to look at—until, at least, she was more satisfied as to the present. And how could she go to her father with such a chaos of unformed wishes and fears to place before him? That such a duty should have devolved upon Ingram was certainly odd enough, but it was not her doing. His knowledge of the position of these young people was not derived from her. But, having got it, he had himself asked her to leave the whole affair in his hands, with that kindness and generosity which had more than once filled her heart with an unspeakable gratitude toward him.

"Well, you are a good fellow!" said Lavender to him when he heard of this decision.

"Bah!" said the other with a shrug of his shoulders. "I mean to amuse myself. I shall move you about like pieces on a chess-board, and have a pretty game with you. How to checkmate the king with a knight and a princess, in any number of moves you like—that is the problem; and my princess has a strong power over the king where she is just now."

"It's an uncommonly awkward business, you know, Ingram," said Lavender ruefully.

"Well, it is. Old Mackenzie is a tough old fellow to deal with, and you'll do no good by making a fight of it. Wait! Difficulties don't look so formidable when you take them one by one as they turn up. If you really love the girl, and mean to take your chance of getting her, and if she cares enough for you to sacrifice a good deal for your sake, there is nothing to fear."

"I can answer for myself, any way," said Lavender in a tone of voice that Ingram rather liked: the young man did not always speak with the same quietness, thoughtfulness and modesty.

And how naturally and easily it came about, after all! They were back again at Borva. They had driven round and about Lewis, and had finished up with Stornoway; and, now that they had got back to the island in Loch Roag, the quaint little drawing-room had even to Lavender a homely and friendly look. The big stuffed fishes and the sponge shells were old acquaintances; and he went to hunt up Sheila's music just as if he had known that dusky corner for years.

"Yes, yes," called Mackenzie, "it iss the English songs we will try now."

He had a notion that he was himself rather a good hand at a part song—just as Sheila had innocently taught him to believe that he was a brilliant whist-player when he had mastered the art of returning his partner's lead—but fortunately at this moment he was engaged with a long pipe and a big tumbler of hot whisky and water. Ingram was similarly employed, lying back in a cane-bottomed easy-chair, and placidly watching the smoke ascending to the roof. Sometimes he cast an eye to the young folks at the other end of the room. They formed a pretty sight, he thought. Lavender was a good-looking fellow enough, and there was something pleasing in the quiet and assiduous fashion in which he waited upon Sheila, and in the almost timid way in which he spoke to her. Sheila herself sat at the piano, clad all in slate-gray silk, with a narrow band of scarlet velvet round her neck; and it was only by a chance turning of the head that Ingram caught the tender and handsome profile, broken only by the outward sweep of the long eyelashes.

Love in thine eyes for ever plays,

Sheila sang, with her father keeping time by patting his forefinger on the table.

He in thy snowy bosom strays,

sang Lavender; and then the two voices joined together:

He makes thy rosy lips his care,

And walks the mazes of thy hair.

Or were there not three voices? Surely, from the back part of the room, the musicians could hear a wandering bass come in from time to time, especially at such portions as "Ah, he never—ah, he never touched thy heart!" which old Mackenzie considered very touching. But there was something quaint and friendly and pleasant in the pathos of [pg 671] those English songs, which made them far more acceptable to him than Sheila's wild and melancholy legends of the sea. He sang "Ah, he never, never touched thy heart!" with an outward expression of grief, but with much inward satisfaction. Was it the quaint phraseology of the old duets that awoke in him some faint ambition after histrionic effect? At all events, Sheila proceeded to another of his favorites, "All's Well," and here, amid the brisk music, the old man had an excellent opportunity of striking in at random—

The careful watch patrols the deck

To guard the ship from foes or wreck.

These two lines he had absolutely mastered, and always sang them, whatever might be the key he happened to light on, with great vigor. He soon went the length of improvising a part for himself in the closing passages, and laid down his pipe altogether as he sang—

What cheer? Brother, quickly tell!

Above! Below! Good-night! All, all's well!

From that point, however, Sheila and her companion wandered away into fields of melody whither the King of Borva could not follow them; so he was content to resume his pipe and listen placidly to the pretty airs. He caught but bits and fragments of phrases and sentiments, but they evidently were comfortable, merry, good-natured songs for young folks to sing. There was a good deal of love-making, and rosy morns appearing, and merry zephyrs, and such odd things, which, sung briskly and gladly by two young and fresh voices, rather drew the hearts of contemplative listeners to the musicians.

"They sing very well whatever," said Mackenzie with a critical air to Ingram when the young people were so busily engaged with their own affairs as apparently to forget the presence of the others. "Oh yes, they sing very well whatever; and what should the young folks sing about but making love and courting, and all that?"

"Natural enough," said Ingram, looking rather wistfully at the two at the other end of the room. "I suppose Sheila will have a sweetheart some day?"

"Oh yes, Sheila will hef a sweetheart some day," said her father good-humoredly. "Sheila is a good-looking girl: she will hef a sweetheart some day."

"She will be marrying too, I suppose," said Ingram cautiously.

"Oh yes, she will marry—Sheila will marry: what will be the life of a young girl if she does not marry?"

At this moment, as Ingram afterward described it, a sort of "flash of inspiration" darted in upon him, and he resolved there and then to brave the wrath of the old king, and place all the conspiracy before him, if only the music kept loud enough to prevent his being overheard.

"It will be hard on you to part with Sheila when she marries," said Ingram, scarcely daring to look up.

"Oh, ay, it will be that," said Mackenzie cheerfully enough. "But it iss every one will hef to do that, and no great harm comes of it. Oh no, it will not be much whatever; and Sheila, she will be very glad in a little while after, and it will be enough for me to see that she is ferry contented and happy. The young folk must marry, you will see; and what is the use of marrying if it is not when they are young? But Sheila, she will think of none of these things. It was young Mr. MacIntyre of Sutherland—you hef seen him last year in Stornoway: he hass three thousand acres of a deer forest in Sutherland—and he will be ferry glad to marry my Sheila. But I will say to him, 'It is not for me to say yes or no to you, Mr. MacIntyre: it is Sheila herself will tell you that.' But he wass afraid to speak to her; and Sheila herself will know nothing of why he came twice to Borva the last year."

"It is very good of you to leave Sheila quite unbiased in her choice," said Ingram: "many fathers would have been sorely tempted by that deer forest."

Old Mackenzie laughed a loud laugh of derision, that fortunately did not stop Lavender's execution of "I would that my love would silently."

"What the teffle," said Mackenzie, "hef I to want a deer forest for my Sheila? Sheila is no fisherman's lass. [pg 672] She has plenty for herself, and she will marry just the young man she wants to marry, and no other one: that is what she will do, by Kott!"

All this was most hopeful. If Mackenzie had himself been advocating Lavender's suit, could he have said more? But notwithstanding all these frank and generous promises, dealing with a future which the old man considered as indefinitely remote, Ingram was still afraid of the announcement he was about to make.

"Sheila is fortunately situated," he said, "in having a father who thinks only of her happiness. But I suppose she has never yet shown a preference for any one?"

"Not for any one but yourself," said her father with a laugh.

And Ingram laughed too, but in an embarrassed way, and his sallow face grew darker with a blush. Was there not something painful in the unintentional implication that of course Ingram could not be considered a possible lover of Sheila's, and that the girl herself was so well aware of it that she could openly testify to her regard for him?

"And it would be a good thing for Sheila," continued her father, more gravely, "if there wass any young man about the Lewis that she would tek a liking to; for it will be some day I can no more look after her, and it would be bad for her to be left alone all by herself in the island."

"And you don't think you see before you now some one who might take on him the charge of Sheila's future?" said Ingram, looking toward Lavender.

"The English gentleman?" said Mackenzie with a smile. "No, that any way is not possible."

"I fancy it is more than possible," said Ingram, resolved to go straight at it. "I know for a fact that he would like to marry your daughter, and I think that Sheila, without knowing it herself almost, is well inclined toward him."

The old man started up from his chair: "Eh? what! my Sheila?"

"Yes, papa," said the girl, turning round at once.

She caught sight of a strange look on his face, and in an instant was by his side: "Papa, what is the matter with you?"

"Nothing, Sheila, nothing," he said impatiently. "I am a little tired of the music, that is all. But go on with the music. Go back to the piano, Sheila, and go on with the music, and Mr. Ingram and me, we will go outside for a little while."

Mackenzie walked out of the room, and said aloud in the hall, "Ay, are you coming, Mr. Ingram? It iss a fine night this night, and the wind is in a very good way for the weather."

And then, as he went out to the front, he hummed aloud, so that Sheila should hear,

Who goes there? Stranger, quickly tell!

A friend! The word! Good-night! All's well!

All's well! Good-night! All's well!

Ingram followed the old man outside, with a somewhat guilty conscience suggesting odd things to him. Would it not be possible now to shut one's ears for the next half hour? Angry words were only little perturbations in the air. If you shut your ears till they were all over, what harm could be done? All the big facts of life would remain the same. The sea, the sky, the hills, the human beings around you, even your desire of sleep for the night and your wholesome longing for breakfast in the morning, would all remain, and the angry words would have passed away. But perhaps it was a proper punishment that he should now go out and bear all the wrath of this fierce old gentleman, whose daughter he had conspired to carry off. Mackenzie was walking up and down the path outside in the cool and silent night. There was not much moon now, but a clear and lambent twilight showed all the familiar features of Loch Roag and the southern hills, and down there in the bay you could vaguely make out the Maighdean-mhara rocking in the tiny waves that washed in on the white shore. Ingram had never looked on this pretty picture with a less feeling of delight.

"Well, you see, Mr. Mackenzie," he [pg 673] was beginning, "you must make this excuse for him—"

But Mackenzie put aside Lavender at once. It was all about Sheila that he wanted to know. There was no anger in his words; only a great anxiety, and sometimes an extraordinary and pathetic effort to take a philosophical view of the situation. What had Sheila said? Was Sheila deeply interested in the young man? Would it please Sheila if he was to go in-doors and give at once his free consent to her marrying this Mr. Lavender?

"Oh, you must not think," said Mackenzie, with a certain loftiness of air even amidst his great perturbation and anxiety—"you must not think I hef not foreseen all this. It wass some day or other Sheila will be sure to marry; and although I did not expect—no, I did not expect that—that she would marry a stranger and an Englishman, if it will please her that is enough. You cannot tell a young lass the one she should marry: it iss all a chance the one she likes, and if she does not marry him it is better she will not marry at all. Oh yes, I know that ferry well. And I hef known there wass a time coming when I would give away my Sheila to some young man; and there iss no use complaining of it. But you hef not told me much about this young man, or I hef forgotten: it is the same thing whatever. He has not much money, you said—he is waiting for some money. Well, this is what I will do: I will give him all my money if he will come and live in the Lewis."

All the philosophy he had been mustering up fell away from that last sentence. It was like the cry of a drowning man who sees the last life-boat set out for shore, leaving him to his fate. And Ingram had not a word to say in reply to that piteous entreaty.

"I do not ask him to stop in Borva: no, it iss a small place for one that hass lived in a town. But the Lewis, that is quite different; and there iss ferry good houses in Stornoway."

"But surely, sir," said Ingram, "you need not consider all this just yet. I am sure neither of them has thought of any such thing."

"No," said Mackenzie, recovering himself, "perhaps not. But we hef our duties to look at the future of young folks. And you will say that Mr. Lavender hass only expectations of money?"

"Well, the expectation is almost a certainty. His aunt, I have told you, is a very rich old lady, who has no other near relations, and she is exceedingly fond of him, and would do anything for him. I am sure the allowance he has now is greatly in excess of what she spends on herself."

"But they might quarrel, you know—they might quarrel. You hef always to look to the future: they might quarrel, and what will he do then?"

"Why, you don't suppose he couldn't support himself if the worst were to come to the worst? He is an amazingly clever fellow—"

"Ay, that is very good," said Mackenzie in a cautious sort of way, "but has he ever made any money?"

"Oh, I fancy not—nothing to speak of. He has sold some pictures, but I think he has given more away."

"Then it iss not easy, tek my word for it, Mr. Ingram, to begin a new trade if you are twenty-five years of age; and the people who will tek your pictures for nothing, will they pay for them if you wanted the money?"

It was obviously the old man's eager wish to prove to himself that, somehow or other, Lavender might come to have no money, and be made dependent on his father-in-law. So far, indeed, from sharing the sentiments ordinarily attributed to that important relative, he would have welcomed with a heartfelt joy the information that the man who, as he expected, was about to marry his daughter was absolutely penniless. Not even all the attractions of that deer forest in Sutherlandshire—particularly fascinating as they must have been to a man of his education and surroundings—had been able to lead the old King of Borva even into hinting to his daughter that the owner of that property would like to marry her. Sheila was to choose for [pg 674] herself. She was not like a fisherman's lass, bound to consider ways and means. And now that she had chosen, or at least indicated the possibility of her doing so, her father's chief desire was that his future son-in-law should come and take and enjoy his money, so only that Sheila might not be carried away from him for ever.

"Well, I will see about it," said Mackenzie with an affectation of cheerful and practical shrewdness. "Oh yes, I will see about it when Sheila has made up her mind. He is a very good young man, whatever—"

"He is the best-hearted fellow I know," said Ingram warmly. "I don't think Sheila has much to fear if she marries him. If you had known him as long as I have, you would know how considerate he is to everybody about him, how generous he is, how good-natured and cheerful, and so forth: in short, he is a thorough good fellow, that's what I have to say about him."

"It iss well for him he will hef such a champion," said Mackenzie with a smile: "there is not many Sheila will pay attention to as she does to you."

They went in-doors again, Ingram scarcely knowing how he had got so easily through the ordeal, but very glad it was over.

Sheila was still at the piano, and on their entering she said, "Papa, here is a song you must learn to sing with me."

"And what iss it, Sheila?" he said, going over to her.

"'Time has not thinned my flowing hair.'"

He put his hand on her head and said, "I hope it will be a long time before he will thin your hair, Sheila."

The girl looked up surprised. Scotch folks are, as a rule, somewhat reticent in their display of affection, and it was not often that her father talked to her in that way. What was there in his face that made her glance instinctively toward Ingram. Somehow or other her hand sought her father's hand, and she rose and went away from the piano, with her head bent down and tears beginning to tell in her eyes.

"Yes, that is a capital song," said Ingram loudly. Sing 'The Arethusa,' Lavender—'Said the saucy Arethusa.'"

Lavender, knowing what had taken place, and not daring to follow with his eyes Sheila and her father, who had gone to the other end of the room, sang the song. Never was a gallant and devil-may-care sea-song sung so hopelessly without spirit. But the piano made a noise and the verses took up time. When he had finished he almost feared to turn round, and yet there was nothing dreadful in the picture that presented itself. Sheila was sitting on her father's knee, with her head buried in his bosom, while he was patting her head and talking in a low voice to her. The King of Borva did not look particularly fierce.

"Yes, it iss a teffle of a good song," he said suddenly. "Now get up, Sheila, and go and tell Mairi we will have a bit of bread and cheese before going to bed. And there will be a little hot water wanted in the other room, for this room it iss too full of the smoke."

Sheila, as she went out of the room, had her head cast down and perhaps an extra tinge of color in her young and pretty face. But surely, Lavender thought to himself as he watched her anxiously, she did not look grieved. As for her father, what should he do now? Turn suddenly round and beg Mackenzie's pardon, and throw himself on his generosity? When he did, with much inward trembling, venture to approach the old man, he found no such explanation possible. The King of Borva was in one of his grandest moods—dignified, courteous, cautious, and yet inclined to treat everybody and everything with a sort of lofty good-humor. He spoke to Lavender in the most friendly way, but it was about the singular and startling fact that modern research had proved many of the Roman legends to be utterly untrustworthy. Mr. Mackenzie observed that the man was wanting in proper courage who feared to accept the results of such inquiries. It was better that we should know the truth, and then the kings who had really made Rome great might emerge from the fog of [pg 675] tradition in their proper shape. There was something quite sympathetic in the way he talked of those ill-treated sovereigns, whom the vulgar mind had clothed in mist.

Lavender was sorely beset by the rival claims of Rome and Borva upon his attention. He was inwardly inclined to curse Numa Pompilius—which would have been ineffectual—when he found that personage interfering with a wild effort to discover why Mackenzie should treat him in this way. And then it occurred to him that, as he had never said a word to Mackenzie about this affair, it was too much to expect that Sheila's father should himself open the subject. On the contrary, Mackenzie was bent on extending a grave courtesy to his guest, so that the latter should not feel ill at ease until it suited himself to make any explanations he might choose. It was not Mackenzie's business to ask this young man if he wanted to marry Sheila. No. The king's daughter, if she were to be won at all, was to be won by a suitor, and it was not for her father to be in a hurry about it. So Lavender got back into the region of early Roman history, and tried to recall what he had learned in Livy, and quite coincided with everything that Niebuhr had said or proved, and with everything that Mackenzie thought Niebuhr had said or proved. He was only too glad, indeed, to find himself talking to Sheila's father in this friendly fashion.

Then Sheila came in and told them that supper was laid in the adjoining room. At that modest meal a great good-humor prevailed. Sometimes, it is true, it occurred to Ingram that Sheila occasionally cast an anxious glance to her father, as if she were trying to discover whether he was really satisfied, or whether he were not merely pretending satisfaction to please her; but for the rest the party was a most friendly and merry one. Lavender, naturally enough, was in the highest of spirits, and nothing could exceed the lighthearted endeavors he made to amuse and interest and cheer his companions. Sheila, indeed, sat up later than usual, even although pipes were lit again, and the slate-gray silk likely to bear witness to the fact in the morning. How comfortable and homely was this sort of life in the remote stone building overlooking the sea! He began to think that he could live always in Borva if only Sheila were with him as his companion.

Was it an actual fact, then, he asked himself next morning, that he stood confessed to the small world of Borva as Sheila's accepted lover? Not a word on the subject had passed between Mackenzie and himself, and yet he found himself assuming the position of a younger relative, and rather expecting advice from the old man. He began to take a great interest, too, in the local administration of the island: he examined the window-fastenings of Mackenzie's house and saw that they would be useful in the winter, and expressed to Sheila's father his confidential opinion that the girl should not be allowed to go out in the Maighdean-mhara without Duncan.

"She will know as much about boats as Duncan himself," said her father with a smile. "But Sheila will not go out when the rough weather begins."

"Of course you keep her in-doors then," said the younger man, already assuming some little charge over Sheila's comfort.

The father laughed aloud at this simplicity on the part of the Englishman: "If we wass to keep in-doors in the bad weather, it would be all the winter we would be in-doors! There iss no day at all Sheila will not be out some time or other; and she is never so well as in the hard weather, when she will be out always in the snow and the frost, and hef plenty of exercise and amusement."

"She is not often ailing, I suppose?" said Lavender.

"She is as strong as a young pony, that is what Sheila is," said her father proudly. "And there is no one in the island will run so fast, or walk so long without tiring, or carry things from the shore as she will—not one."

But here he suddenly checked himself. "That is," he said with some little expression of annoyance, "I wass saying [pg 676] Sheila could do that if it wass any use; but she will not do such things, like a fisherman's lass that hass to keep in the work."

"Oh, of course not," said Lavender hastily. "But still, you know, it is pleasant to know she is so strong and well."

And at this moment Sheila herself appeared, accompanied by her great deerhound, and testifying by the bright color in her face to the assurances of her health her father had been giving. She had just come up and over the hill from Borvabost, while as yet breakfast had not been served. Somehow or other, Lavender fancied she never looked so bright and bold and handsome as in the early morning, with the fresh sea-air tingling the color in her cheeks, and the sunlight shining in the clear eyes or giving from time to time a glimpse of her perfect teeth. But this morning she did not seem quite so frankly merry as usual. She patted the deerhound's head, and rather kept her eyes away from her father and his companion. And then she took Bras away to give him his breakfast, just as Ingram appeared to bid her good-morning and ask her what she meant by being about so early.

How anxiously Lavender now began to calculate on the remaining days of their stay in Borva! They seemed so few. He got up at preposterously early hours to make each day as long as possible, but it slipped away with a fatal speed; and already he began to think of Stornoway and the Clansman and his bidding good-bye to Sheila. He had said no more to her of any pledge as regarded the future. He was content to see that she was pleased to be with him; and happy indeed were their rambles about the island, their excursions in Sheila's boat, their visits to the White Water in search of salmon. Nor had he yet spoken to Sheila's father. He knew that Mackenzie knew, and both seemed to take it for granted that no good could come of a formal explanation until Sheila herself should make her wishes known. That, indeed, was the only aspect of the case that apparently presented itself to the old King of Borva. He forgot altogether those precautions and investigations which are supposed to occupy the mind of a future father-in-law, and only sought to see how Sheila was affected toward the young man who was soon about to leave the island. When he saw her pleased to be walking with Lavender and talking with him of an evening, he was pleased, and would rather have a cold dinner than break in upon them to hurry them home. When he saw her disappointed because Lavender had been unfortunate in his salmon-fishing, he was ready to swear at Duncan for not having had the fish in a better temper. And the most of his conversation with Ingram consisted of an endeavor to convince himself that, after all, what had happened was for the best, and that Sheila seemed to be happy.

But somehow or other, when the time for their departure was drawing near, Mackenzie showed a strange desire that his guests should spend the last two days in Stornoway. When Lavender first heard this proposal he glanced toward Sheila, and his face showed clearly his disappointment.

"But Sheila will go with us too," said her father, replying to that unuttered protest in the most innocent fashion; and then Lavender's face brightened again, and he said that nothing would give him greater pleasure than to spend two days in Stornoway.

"And you must not think," said Mackenzie anxiously, "that it is one day or two days or a great many days will show you all the fine things about Stornoway. And if you were to live in Stornoway you would find very good acquaintances and friends there; and in the autumn, when the shooting begins, there are many English who will come up, and there will be ferry great doings at the castle. And there is some gentlemen now at Grimersta whom you hef not seen, and they are ferry fine gentlemen; and at Garra-na-hina there iss two more gentlemen for the salmon-fishing. Oh, there iss a great many fine people in the Lewis, and it iss not all as lonely as Borva."

[pg 677]

"If it is half as pleasant a place to live in as Borva, it will do," said Lavender, with a flush of enthusiasm in his face as he looked toward Sheila and saw her pleased and downcast eyes.

"But it iss not to be compared," said Mackenzie eagerly. "Borva, that is nothing at all; but the Lewis, it is a ferry different thing to live in the Lewis; and many English gentlemen hef told me they would like to live always in the Lewis."

"I think I should too," said Lavender lightly and carelessly, little thinking what importance the old man immediately and gladly put upon the admission.

From that moment, Lavender, although unconscious of what had happened, had nothing to fear in the way of opposition from Sheila's father. If he had there and then boldly asked Mackenzie for his daughter, the old man would have given his consent freely, and bade Lavender go to Sheila herself.

And so they set sail, one pleasant forenoon, from Borvabost, and the light wind that ruffled the blue of Loch Roag gently filled the mainsail of the Maigh-dean-mhara as she lightly ran down the tortuous channel.

"I don't like to go away from Borva," said Lavender in a low voice to Sheila, "but I might have been leaving the island with greater regret, for, you know, I expect to be back soon."

"We shall always be glad to see you," said the girl; and although he would rather have had her say "I" than "we," there was something in the tone of her voice that contented him.

At Garra-na-hina Mackenzie pointed out with a great interest to Lavender a tall man who was going down through some meadows to the Amhuinn Dhubh, "the Black River." He had a long rod over his shoulder, and behind him, at some distance, followed a shorter man, who carried a gaff and landing-net. Mackenzie anxiously explained to Lavender that the tall figure was that of an Englishman. Lavender accepted the statement. But would he not go down to the river and make his acquaintance? Lavender could not understand why he should be expected to take so great an interest in an ordinary English sportsman.

"Ferry well," said Mackenzie, a trifle disappointed, "but you would find several of the English in the Lewis if you wass living here."

These last two days in Stornoway were very pleasant. On their previous visit to the town Mackenzie had given up much of his time to business affairs, and was a good deal away from his guests, but now he devoted himself to making them particularly comfortable in the place and amusing them in every possible way. He introduced Lavender, in especial, to all his friends there, and was most anxious to impress on the young man that life in Stornoway was, on the whole, rather a brilliant affair. Then was there a finer point from which you could start at will for Inverness, Oban and such great centres of civilization? Very soon there would even be a telegraphic cable laid to the mainland. Was Mr. Lavender aware that frequently you could see the Sutherlandshire hills from this very town of Stornoway?

There Sheila laughed, and Lavender, who kept watching her face always to read all her fancies and sentiments and wishes in the shifting lights of it, immediately demanded an explanation.

"It is no good thing," said Sheila, "to see the Sutherland hills often, for when you see them it means to rain."

But Lavender had not been taught to fear the rain of the Western Isles. The very weather seemed to have conspired with Mackenzie to charm the young man with the island. At this moment, for example, they were driving away from Stornoway along the side of the great bay that stretches northward until it finds its furthest promontory in Tiumpan Head. What magnificence of color shone all around them in the hot sunlight! Where the ruffled blue sea came near the long sweep of yellow sand it grew to be a bright, transparent green. The splendid curve of the bay showed a gleaming line of white where the waves broke in masses of hissing foam; and beyond that curve again long promontories of dark red [pg 678] conglomerate ran out into the darker waters of the sea, with their summits shining with the bright sea-grass. Here, close at hand, were warm meadows, with calves and lambs cropping the sweet-scented Dutch clover. A few huts, shaped like beehives, stood by the roadside, close by some deep peat cuttings. There was a cutting in the yellow sand of the bay for the pulling up of captured whales. Now and again you could see a solan dart down from the blue heavens into the blue of the sea, sending up a spurt of water twenty feet high as he disappeared; and far out there, between the red precipices and the ruffled waters beneath, white sea-fowl flew from crag to crag or dropped down upon the sea to rise and fall with the waves.

At the small hamlet of Gress they got a large rowing-boat manned by sturdy fishermen, and set out to explore the great caves formed in the mighty wall of conglomerate that here fronts the sea. The wild-fowl flew about them, screaming and yelling at being disturbed. The long swell of the sea lifted the boat, passed from under it, and went on with majestic force to crash on the glowing red crags and send jets of foam flying up the face of them. They captured one of the sea-birds—a young thing about as big as a hen, with staring eyes, scant feathers, and a long beak with which it instinctively tried to bite its enemies—and the parents of it kept swooping down over the boat, uttering shrill cries, until their offspring was restored to the surface of the water. They went into the great loud-sounding caverns, getting a new impression of the extraordinary clearness of the sea-water by the depth at which the bottom was visible; and here their shouts occasionally called up from some dim twilight recess, far in among the perilous rocks, the head of a young seal, which would instantly dive again and be seen no more. They watched the salmon splash in the shallower creeks where the sea had scooped out a tiny bay of ruddy sand, and then a slowly rolling porpoise would show his black back above the water and silently disappear again. All this was pleasant enough on a pleasant morning, in fresh sea-air and sunlight, in holiday-time; and was there any reason, Mackenzie may fairly have thought, why this young man, if he did marry Sheila, should not come and live in a place where so much healthy amusement was to be found?

And in the evening, too, when they had climbed to the top of the hills on the south of Stornoway harbor, did not the little town look sufficiently picturesque, with its white houses, its shipping, its great castle and plantations lying in shadow under the green of the eastern sky? Then away to the west what a strange picture presented itself! Thick bands of gray cloud lay across the sky, and the sunlight from behind them sent down great rays of misty yellow on the endless miles of moor. But how was it that, as these shafts of sunlight struck on the far and successive ridges of the moorland, each long undulation seemed to become transparent, and all the island appeared to consist of great golden-brown shells heaped up behind each other, with the sunlight shining through?

"I have tried a good many new effects since coming up here," said Lavender, "but I shall not try that."

"Oh, it iss nothing—it is nothing at all," said Mackenzie with a studied air of unconcern. "There iss much more beautiful things than that in the island, but you will hef need of a ferry long time before you will find it all out. That—that iss nothing at all."

"You will perhaps make a picture of it some other time," said Sheila with her eyes cast down, and as he was standing by her at the time, he took her hand and pressed it, and said, "I hope so."

Then, that night! Did not every hour produce some new and wonderful scene, or was it only that each minute grew to be so precious, and that the enchantment of Sheila's presence filled the air around him? There was no moon, but the stars shone over the bay and the harbor and the dusky hills beyond the castle. Every few seconds the lighthouse at Arnish Point sent out its wild glare of orange fire into the heart, of the clear darkness, and then as suddenly [pg 679] faded out and left the eyes too bewildered to make out the configuration of the rocks. All over the north-west there still remained the pale glow of the twilight, and somehow Lavender seemed to think that that strange glow belonged to Sheila's home in the west, and that the people in Stornoway knew nothing of the wonders of Loch Roag and of the strange nights there. Was he likely ever to forget?

"Good-bye, Sheila," he said next morning, when the last signal had been given and the Clansman was about to move from her moorings.

She had bidden good-bye to Ingram already, but somehow she could not speak to his companion just at this last moment. She pressed his hand and turned away, and went ashore with her father. Then the big steamer throbbed its way out of the harbor, and by and by the island of Lewis lay but as a thin blue cloud along the horizon; and who could tell that human beings, with strange hopes and fancies and griefs, were hidden away in that pale line of vapor?



A night journey from Greenock to London is a sufficiently prosaic affair in ordinary circumstances, but it need not be always so. What if a young man, apparently occupied in making himself comfortable and in talking nonsense to his friend and companion, should be secretly calculating how the journey could be made most pleasant to a bride, and that bride his bride? Lavender made experiments with regard to the ways and tempers of guards; he borrowed planks of wood with which to make sleeping-couches of an ordinary first-class carriage; he bribed a certain official to have the compartment secured; he took note of the time when, and the place where, refreshments could be procured: all these things he did, thinking of Sheila. And when Ingram, sometimes surprised by his good-nature, and occasionally remonstrating against his extravagance, at last fell asleep on the more or less comfortable cushions stretched across the planks, Lavender would have him wake up again, that he might be induced to talk once more about Sheila. Ingram would make use of some wicked words, rub his eyes, ask what was the last station they had passed, and then begin to preach to Lavender about the great obligations he was under to Sheila, and what would be expected of him in after times.

"You are coming away just now," he would say, while Lavender, who could not sleep at all, was only anxious that Sheila's name should be mentioned, "enriched with a greater treasure than falls to the lot of most men. If you know how to value that treasure, there is not a king or emperor in Europe who should not envy you."

"But don't you think I value it?" the other would say anxiously.

"We'll see about that afterward, by what you do. But in the mean time you don't know what you have won. You don't know the magnificent single-heartedness of that girl, her keen sense of honor, nor the strength of character, of judgment and decision that lies beneath her apparent simplicity. Why, I have known Sheila, now—But what's the use of talking?"

"I wish you would talk, though, Ingram," said his companion quite submissively. "You have known her longer than I. I am willing to believe all you say of her, and anxious, indeed, to know as much about her as possible. You don't suppose I fancy she is anything less than you say?"

"Well," said Ingram doubtfully, "perhaps not. The worst of it is, that you take such odd readings of people. However, when you marry her, as I now hope you may, you will soon find out; and then, if you are not grateful, if you don't understand and appreciate then the fine qualities of this girl, the sooner you put a millstone round your neck and drop over Chelsea Bridge the better."

"She will always have in you a good friend to look after her when she comes to London."

[pg 680]

"Oh, don't imagine I mean to thrust myself in at your breakfast-table to give you advice. If a husband and wife cannot manage their own affairs satisfactorily, no third person can; and I am getting to be an elderly man, who likes peace and comfort and his own quiet."

"I wish you wouldn't talk such nonsense!" said Lavender impetuously. "You know you are bound to marry; and the woman you ask to marry you will be a precious fool if she refuses. I don't know, indeed, how you and Sheila ever escaped—"

"Look here, Lavender," said his companion, speaking in a somewhat more earnest fashion, "if you marry Sheila Mackenzie I suppose I may see something of both of you from time to time. But you are naturally jealous and exacting, as is the way with many good fellows who have had too much of their own will in the world; and if you start off with the notion now that Sheila and I might ever have married, or that such a thing was ever thought of by either of us, the certain consequence will be that you will become jealous of me, and that in time I shall have to stop seeing either of you if you happen to be living in London."

"And if ever the time comes," said Lavender lightly, "when I prove myself such a fool, I hope I shall remember that a millstone can be bought in Victoria road and that Chelsea Bridge is handy."

"All right: I'm going to sleep."

For some time after Ingram was permitted to rest in peace, and it was not until they had reached some big station or other toward morning that he woke. Lavender had never closed his eyes.

"Haven't you been asleep?"


"What's the matter now?"

"My aunt."

"You seem to have acquired a trick recently of looking at all the difficulties of your position at once. Why don't you take them singly? You've just got rid of Mackenzie's opposition: that might have contented you for a while."

"I think the best plan will be to say nothing of this to my aunt at present. I think we ought to get married first, and when I take Sheila to see her as my wife, what can she say then?"

"But what is Sheila likely to say before then? And Sheila's father? You must be out of your mind!"

"There will be a pretty scene, then, when I tell her."

"Scenes don't hurt anybody, unless when they end in brickbats or decanters. Your aunt must know you would marry some day."

"Yes, but you know whom she wished me to marry."

"That is nothing. Every old lady has a fancy for imagining possible marriages; but your aunt is a reasonable woman, and could not possibly object to your marrying a girl like Sheila?"

"Oh, couldn't she? Then you don't know her: 'Frank, my dear, what are the arms borne by your wife's family?' 'My dear aunt, I will describe them to you as becomes a dutiful nephew. The arms are quarterly: first and fourth, vert, a herring, argent; second and third, azure, a solan-goose, volant, or. The crest, out of a crown vallery, argent, a cask of whisky, gules. Supporters, dexter, a gillie; sinister, a fisherman.'"

"And a very good coat-of-arms, too. You might add the motto Ultimus regum. Or Atavis editus regibus. Or Tyrrhena regum progenies. To think that your aunt would forbid your wedding a king's daughter!"

"I should wed the king's daughter, aunt or no aunt, in any case; but, you see, it would be uncommonly awkward, just as old Mackenzie would want to know something more particular about my circumstances; and he might ask for references to the old lady herself, just as if I were a tenant about to take a house."

"I have given him enough references. Go to sleep, and don't bother yourself."

But now Ingram felt himself just as unable as his companion to escape into unconsciousness, and so he roused himself thoroughly, and began to talk about Lewis and Borva and the Mackenzies, and the duties and responsibilities [pg 681] Lavender would undertake in marrying Sheila.

"Mackenzie," he said, "will expect you to live in Stornoway at least half the year, and it will be very hard on him if you don't."

"Oh, as to that," said the other, "I should have no objection; but, you see, if I am to get married I really think I ought to try to get into some position of earning my own living or helping toward it, you know. I begin to see how galling this sort of dependence on my aunt might be if I wished to act for myself. Now, if I were to begin to do anything, I could not go and bury myself in Lewis for half the year—just at first: by and by, you know, it might be different. But don't you think I ought to begin and do something?"

"Most certainly. I have often wished you had been born a carpenter or painter or glazier."

"People are not born carpenters or glaziers, but sometimes they are born painters. I think I have been born nothing; but I am willing to try, more especially as I think Sheila would like it."

"I know she would."

"I will write and tell her the moment I get to London."

"I would fix first what your occupation was to be, if I were you. There is no hurry about telling Sheila, although she will be very glad to get as much news of you as possible, and I hope you will spare no time or trouble in pleasing her in that line. By the way, what an infamous shame it was of you to go and gammon old Mackenzie into the belief that he can read poetry! Why, he will make that girl's life a burden to her. I heard him propose to read Paradise Lost to her as soon as the rain set in."

"I didn't gammon him," said Lavender with a laugh. "Every man thinks he can read poetry better than every other man, even as every man fancies that no one gets cigars as good and as cheap as he does, and that no one can drive a horse safely but himself. My talking about his reading was not as bad as Sheila's persuading him that he can play whist. Did you ever know a man who did not believe that everybody else's reading of poetry was affected, stilted and unbearable? I know Mackenzie must have been reading poetry to Sheila long before I mentioned it to him."

"But that suggestion about his resonant voice and the Crystal Palace?"

"That was a joke."

"He did not take it as a joke, and neither did Sheila."

"Well, Sheila would believe that her father could command the Channel fleet, or turn out the present ministry, or build a bridge to America, if only anybody hinted it to her. Touching that Crystal Palace: did you observe how little notion of size she could have got from pictures when she asked me if the Crystal Palace was much bigger than the hot-houses at Lewis Castle?"

"What a world of wonder the girl is coming into!" said the other meditatively. "But it will be all lit up by one sun if only you take care of her and justify her belief in you."

"I have not much doubt," said Lavender with a certain modest confidence in his manner which had repeatedly of late pleased his friend.

Even Sheila herself could scarcely have found London more strange than did the two men who had just returned from a month's sojourn in the northern Hebrides. The dingy trees in Euston Square, the pale sunlight that shone down on the gray pavements, the noise of the omnibuses and carts, the multitude of strangers, the blue and mist-like smoke that hung about Tottenham Court road,—all were as strange to them as the sensation of sitting in a hansom and being driven along by an unseen driver. Lavender confessed afterward that he was pervaded by an odd sort of desire to know whether there was anybody in London at all like Sheila. Now and again a smartly-dressed girl passed along the pavement: what was it that made the difference between her and that other girl whom he had just left? Yet he wished to have the difference as decided as possible. When some bright, fresh-colored, [pg 682] pleasant-looking girl passed, he was anxious to prove to himself that she was not to be compared with Sheila. Where in all London could you find eyes that told so much? He forgot to place the specialty of Sheila's eyes in the fact of their being a dark gray-blue under black eyelashes. What he did remember was that no eyes could possibly say the same things to him as they had said. And where in all London was the same sweet aspect to be found, or the same unconsciously proud and gentle demeanor, or the same tender friendliness expressed in a beautiful face? He would not say anything against London women, for all that. It was no fault of theirs that they could not be sea-kings' daughters, with the courage and frankness and sweetness of the sea gone into their blood. He was only too pleased to have proved to himself, by looking at some half dozen pretty shop-girls, that not in London was there any one to compare with Princess Sheila.

For many a day thereafter Ingram had to suffer a good deal of this sort of lover's logic, and bore it with great fortitude. Indeed, nothing pleased him more than to observe that Lavender's affection, so far from waning, engrossed more and more of his thought and his time; and he listened with unfailing good-nature and patience to the perpetual talk of his friend about Sheila and her home, and the future that might be in store for both of them. If he had accepted half the invitations to dinner sent down to him at the Board of Trade by his friend, he would scarcely ever have been out of Lavender's club. Many a long evening they passed in this way—either in Lavender's rooms in King street or in Ingram's lodgings in Sloane street. Ingram quite consented to lie in a chair and smoke, sometimes putting in a word of caution to bring Lavender back from the romantic Sheila to the real Sheila, sometimes smiling at some wild proposal or statement on the part of his friend, but always glad to see that the pretty idealisms planted during their stay in the far North were in no danger of dying out down here in the South. Those were great days, too, when a letter arrived from Sheila. Nothing had been said about their corresponding, but Lavender had written shortly after his arrival in London, and Sheila had answered for her father and herself. It wanted but a very little amount of ingenuity to continue the interchange of letters thus begun; and when the well-known envelope arrived high holiday was immediately proclaimed by the recipient of it. He did not show Ingram these letters, of course, but the contents of them were soon bit by bit revealed. He was also permitted to see the envelope, as if Sheila's handwriting had some magical charm about it. Sometimes, indeed, Ingram had himself a letter from Sheila, and that was immediately shown to Lavender. Was he pleased to find that these communications were excessively business-like—describing how the fishing was going on, what was doing in the schools, and how John the Piper was conducting himself, with talk about the projected telegraphic cable, the shooting in Harris, the health of Bras, and other esoteric matters?

Lavender's communications with the King of Borva were of a different nature. Wonderful volumes on building, agriculture and what not, tobacco hailing from certain royal sources in the neighborhood of the Pyramids, and now and again a new sort of rifle or some fresh invention in fishing-tackle,—these were the sort of things that found their way to Lewis. And then in reply came haunches of venison, and kegs of rare whisky, and skins of wild animals, which, all very admirable in their way, were a trifle cumbersome in a couple of moderate rooms in King street, St. James's. But here Lavender hit upon a happy device. He had long ago talked to his aunt of the mysterious potentate in the far North, who was the ruler of man, beast and fish, and who had an only daughter. When these presents arrived, Mrs. Lavender was informed that they were meant for her, and was given to understand that they were the propitiatory gifts of a half-savage monarch who wished to seek her friendship. In vain did Ingram warn [pg 683] Lavender of the possible danger of this foolish joke. The young man laughed, and would come down to Sloane street with another story of his success as an envoy of the distant king.

And so the months went slowly by, and Lavender raved about Sheila, and dreamed about Sheila, and was always going to begin some splendid achievement for Sheila's sake, but never just managed to begin. After all, the future did not look very terrible, and the present was satisfactory enough. Mrs. Lavender had no objection whatever to listening to his praises of Sheila, and had even gone the length of approving of the girl's photograph when it was shown her. But at the end of six months Lavender suddenly went down to Sloane street, found Ingram in his lodgings, and said, "Ingram, I start for Lewis to-morrow."

"The more fool you!" was the complacent reply.

"I can't bear this any longer: I must go and see her."

"You'll have to bear worse if you go. You don't know what getting to Lewis is in the winter. You'll be killed with cold before you see the Minch."

"I can stand a good bit of cold when there's a reason for it," said the young man; "and I have written to Sheila to say I should start to-morrow."

"In that case I had better make use of you. I suppose you won't mind taking up to Sheila a sealskin jacket that I have bought for her."

"That you have bought for her!" said the other.

How could he have spared fifteen pounds out of his narrow income for such a present? And yet he laughed at the idea of his ever having been in love with Sheila.

Lavender took the sealskin jacket with him, and started on his journey to the North. It was certainly all that Ingram had prophesied in the way of discomfort, hardship and delay. But one forenoon, Lavender, coming up from the cabin of the steamer into which he had descended to escape from the bitter wind and the sleet, saw before him a strange thing. In the middle of the black sea and under a dark gray sky lay a long wonder-land of gleaming snow. Far as the eye could see the successive headlands of pale white jutted out into the dark ocean, until in the south they faded into a gray mist and became invisible. And when they got into Stornoway harbor, how black seemed the waters of the little bay and the hulls of the boats and the windows of the houses against the blinding white of the encircling hills!

"Yes," said Lavender to the captain, "it will be a cold drive across to Loch Roag. I shall give Mackenzie's man a good dram before we start."

But it was not Mackenzie's notion of hospitality to send Duncan to meet an honored guest, and ere the vessel was fast moored Lavender had caught sight of the well-known pair of horses and the brown wagonette, and Mackenzie stamping up and down in the trampled snow. And this figure close down to the edge of the quay? Surely, there was something about the thick gray shawl, the white feather, the set of the head, that he knew!

"Why, Sheila!" he cried, jumping ashore before the gangway was shoved across, "whatever made you come to Stornoway on such a day?"

"And it is not much my coming to Stornoway if you will come all the way from England to the Lewis," said Sheila, looking up with her bright and glad eyes.

For six months he had been trying to recall the tones of her voice in looking at her picture, and had failed: now he fancied that she spoke more sweetly and musically than ever.

"Ay, ay," said Mackenzie when he had shaken hands with the young man, "it wass a piece of foolishness, her coming over to meet you in Styornoway; but the girl will be neither to hold nor to bind when she teks a foolishness into her head."

"Is this the character I hear of you, Sheila?" he said; and Mackenzie laughed at his daughter's embarrassment, and said she was a good lass for all that, and bundled both the young folks into the inn, where luncheon had been provided, [pg 684] with a blazing fire in the room, and a kettle of hot water steaming beside it.

When they got to Borva, Lavender began to see that Mackenzie had laid the most subtle plans for reconciling him to the hard weather of these northern winters; and the young man, nothing loath, fell into his ways, and was astonished at the amusement and interest that could be got out of a residence in this bleak island at such a season. Mackenzie discarded at once the feeble protections against cold and wet which his guest had brought with him. He gave him a pair of his own knickerbockers and enormous boots; he made him wear a frieze coat borrowed from Duncan; he insisted on his turning down the flap of a sealskin cap and tying the ends under his chin; and thus equipped they started on many a rare expedition round the coast. But on their first going out, Mackenzie, looking at him, said with some chagrin, "Will they wear gloves when they go shooting in your country?"

"Oh," said Lavender, "these are only a pair of old dogskins I use chiefly to keep my hands clean. You see I have cut out the trigger-finger. And they keep your hands from being numbed, you know, with the cold or the rain."

"There will be not much need of that after a little while," said Mackenzie; and indeed, after half an hour's tramping over snow and climbing over rocks, Lavender was well inclined to please the old man by tossing the gloves into the sea, for his hands were burning with heat.

Then the pleasant evenings after all the fatigues of the day were over, clothes changed, dinner despatched, and Sheila at the open piano in that warm little drawing-room, with its strange shells and fish and birds!

Love in thine eyes for ever plays;

He in thy snowy bosom strays,

they sang, just as in the bygone times of summer; and now old Mackenzie had got on a bit farther in his musical studies, and could hum with the best of them,

He makes thy rosy lips his care,

And walks the mazes of thy hair.

There was no winter at all in the snug little room, with its crimson fire and closed shutters and songs of happier times. "When the rosy morn appearing" had nothing inappropriate in it; and if they particularly studied the words of "Oh wert thou in the cauld blast," it was only that Sheila might teach her companion the Scotch pronunciation, as far as she knew it. And once, half in joke, Lavender said he could believe it was summer again if Sheila had only on her slate-gray silk dress, with the red ribbon round her neck; and sure enough, after dinner she came down in that dress, and Lavender took her hand and kissed it in gratitude. Just at that moment, too, Mackenzie began to swear at Duncan for not having brought him his pipe, and not only went out of the room to look for it, but was a full half hour in finding it. When he came in again he was singing carelessly,

Love in thine eyes for ever plays,

just as if he had got his pipe round the corner.

For it had been all explained by this time, you know, and Sheila had in a couple of trembling words pledged away her life, and her father had given his consent. More than that he would have done for the girl, if need were; and when he saw the perfect happiness shining in her eyes—when he saw that, through some vague feelings of compunction or gratitude, or even exuberant joy, she was more than usually affectionate toward himself—he grew reconciled to the ways of Providence, and was ready to believe that Ingram had done them all a good turn in bringing his friend from the South with him. If there was any haunting fear at all, it was about the possibility of Sheila's husband refusing to live in Stornoway, even for half the year or a portion of the year; but did not the young man express himself as delighted beyond measure with Lewis and the Lewis people, and the sports and scenery and climate of the island? If Mackenzie could have bought fine weather at twenty pounds a day, Lavender would have gone back to London with the conviction [pg 685] that there was only one thing better than Lewis in summer-time, and that was Lewis in time of snow and frost.

The blow fell. One evening a distinct thaw set in, during the night the wind went round to the south-west, and in the morning, lo! the very desolation of desolation. Suainabhal, Mealasabhal, Cracabhal were all hidden away behind dreary folds of mist; a slow and steady rain poured down from the lowering skies on the wet rocks, the marshy pasture-land and the leafless bushes; the Atlantic lay dark under a gray fog, and you could scarcely see across the loch in front of the house. Sometimes the wind freshened a bit, and howled about the house or dashed showers against the streaming panes; but ordinarily there was no sound but the ceaseless hissing of the rain on the wet gravel at the door and the rush of the waves along the black rocks. All signs of life seemed to have fled from the earth and the sky. Bird and beast had alike taken shelter, and not even a gull or a sea-pye crossed the melancholy lines of moorland, which were half obscured by the mist of the rain.

"Well, it can't be fine weather always," said Lavender cheerfully when Mackenzie was affecting to be greatly surprised to find such a thing as rain in the island of Lewis.

"No, that iss quite true," said the old man. "It wass ferry good weather we were having since you hef come here. And what iss a little rain?—oh, nothing at all. You will see it will go away whenever the wind goes round."

With that Mackenzie would again go out to the front of the house, take a turn up and down the wet gravel, and pretend to be scanning the horizon for signs of a change. Sheila, a good deal more honest, went about her household duties, saying merely to Lavender, "I am very sorry the weather has broken, but it may clear before you go away from Borva."

"Before I go? Do you expect it to rain for a week?"

"Perhaps it will not, but it is looking very bad to-day," said Sheila.

"Well, I don't care," said the young man, "though it should rain the skies down, if only you would keep in-doors, Sheila. But you do go out in such a reckless fashion. You don't seem to reflect that it is raining."

"I do not get wet," she said.

"Why, when you came up from the shore half an hour ago your hair was as wet as possible, and your face all red and gleaming with the rain."

"But I am none the worse. And I am not wet now. It is impossible that you will always keep in a room if you have things to do; and a little rain does not hurt any one."

"It occurs to me, Sheila," he observed slowly, "that you are an exceedingly obstinate and self-willed young person, and that no one has ever exercised any proper control over you."

She looked up for a moment with a sudden glance of surprise and pain: then she saw in his eyes that he meant nothing, and she went forward to him, putting her hand in his hand, and saying with a smile, "I am very willing to be controlled."

"Are you really?"


"Then hear my commands. You shall not go out in time of rain without putting something over your head or taking an umbrella. You shall not go out in the Maighdean-mhara without taking some one with you besides Mairi. You shall never, if you are away from home, go within fifty yards of the sea, so long as there is snow on the rocks."

"But that is so very many things already: is it not enough?" said Sheila.

"You will faithfully remember and observe these rules?"

"I will."

"Then you are a more obedient girl than I imagined or expected; and you may now, if you are good, have the satisfaction of offering me a glass of sherry and a biscuit, for, rain or no rain, Lewis is a dreadful place for making people hungry."

Mackenzie need not have been afraid. Strange as it may appear, Lavender was well content with the wet weather. No depression or impatience or remonstrance [pg 686] was visible on his face when he went to the blurred windows, day after day, to see only the same desolate picture—the dark sea, the wet rocks, the gray mists over the moorland and the shining of the red gravel before the house. He would stand with his hands in his pocket and whistle "Love in thine eyes for ever plays," just as if he were looking out on a cheerful summer sunrise. When he and Sheila went to the door, and were received by a cold blast of wet wind and a driving shower of rain, he would slam the door to again with a laugh, and pull the girl back into the house. Sometimes she would not be controlled; and then he would accompany her about the garden as she attended to her duties, or would go down to the shore with her to give Bras a run. From these excursions he returned in the best of spirits, with a fine color in his face; until, having got accustomed to heavy boots, impervious frieze and the discomfort of wet hands, he grew to be about as indifferent to the rain as Sheila herself, and went fishing or shooting or boating with much content, whether it was wet or dry.

"It has been the happiest month of my life—I know that," he said to Mackenzie as they stood together on the quay at Stornoway.

"And I hope you will hef many like it in the Lewis," said the old man cheerfully.

"I think I should soon learn to become a Highlander up here," said Lavender, "if Sheila would only teach me the Gaelic."

"The Gaelic!" cried Mackenzie impatiently. "The Gaelic! It is none of the gentlemen who will come here in the autumn will want the Gaelic; and what for would you want the Gaelic—ay, if you was staying here the whole year round?"

"But Sheila will teach me all the same—won't you, Sheila?" he said, turning to his companion, who was gazing somewhat blankly at the rough steamer and at the rough gray sea beyond the harbor.

"Yes," said the girl: she seemed in no mood for joking.

Lavender returned to town more in love than ever; and soon the news of his engagement was spread abroad, he nothing loath. Most of his club-friends laughed, and prophesied it would come to nothing. How could a man in Lavender's position marry anybody but an heiress? He could not afford to go and marry a fisherman's daughter. Others came to the conclusion that artists and writers and all that sort of people were incomprehensible, and said "Poor beggar!" when they thought of the fashion in which Lavender had ruined his chances in life. His lady friends, however, were much more sympathetic. There was a dash of romance in the story; and would not the Highland girl be a curiosity for a little while after she came to town? Was she like any of the pictures Mr. Lavender had hanging up in his rooms? Had he not even a sketch of her? An artist, and yet not have a portrait of the girl he had chosen to marry? Lavender had no portrait of Sheila to show. Some little photographs he had he kept for his own pocket-book, while in vain had he tried to get some sketch or picture that would convey to the little world of his friends and acquaintances some notion of his future bride. They were left to draw on their imagination for some presentiment of the coming princess.

He told Mrs. Lavender, of course. She said little, but sent for Edward Ingram. Him she questioned in a cautious, close and yet apparently indifferent way, and then merely said that Frank was very impetuous, that it was a pity he had resolved on marrying out of his own sphere of life, but that she hoped the young lady from the Highlands would prove a good wife to him.

"I hope he will prove a good husband to her," said Ingram with unusual sharpness.

"Frank is very impetuous." That was all Mrs. Lavender would say.

By and by, as the spring drew on and the time of the marriage was coming nearer, the important business of taking and furnishing a house for Sheila's reception occupied the attention of the [pg 687] young man from morning till night. He had been somewhat disappointed at the cold fashion in which his aunt looked upon his choice, admitting everything he had to say in praise of Sheila, but never expressing any approval of his conduct or hope about the future; but now she showed herself most amiably and generously disposed. She supplied the young man with abundant funds wherewith to furnish the house according to his own fancy. It was a small place, fronting a somewhat commonplace square in Notting Hill, but it was to be a miracle of artistic adornment inside. He tortured himself for days over rival shades and hues; he drew designs for the chairs; he himself painted a good deal of paneling;, and, in short, gave up his whole time to making Sheila's future home beautiful. His aunt regarded these preparations with little interest, but she certainly gave her nephew ample means to indulge the eccentricities of his fancy.

"Isn't she a dear old lady?" said Lavender one night to Ingram. "Look here! A cheque, received this morning, for two hundred pounds, for plate and glass."

Ingram looked at the bit of pale green paper: "I wish you had earned the money yourself, or done without the plate until you could buy it with your own money."

"Oh, confound it, Ingram! you carry your puritanical theories too far. Doubtless I shall earn my own living by and by. Give me time."

"It is now nearly a year since you thought of marrying Sheila Mackenzie, and you have not done a stroke of work yet."

"I beg your pardon. I have worked a good deal of late, as you will see when you come up to my rooms."

"Have you sold a single picture since last summer?"

"I cannot make people buy my pictures if they don't choose to do so."

"Have you made any effort to get them sold, or to come to any arrangement with any of the dealers?"

"I have been too busy of late—looking after this house, you know," said Lavender with an air of apology.

"You were not too busy to paint a fan for Mrs. Lorraine, that people say must have occupied you for months."

Lavender laughed: "Do you know, Ingram, I think you are jealous of Mrs. Lorraine, on account of Sheila? Come, you shall go and see her."

"No, thank you."

"Are you afraid of your Puritan principles giving way?"

"I am afraid that you are a very foolish boy," said the other with a good-humored shrug of resignation, "but I hope to see you mend when you marry."

"Ah, then you will see a difference!" said Lavender seriously; and so the dispute ended.

It had been arranged that Ingram should go up to Lewis to the marriage, and after the ceremony in Stornoway return to Borva with Mr. Mackenzie, to remain with him a few days. But at the last moment Ingram was summoned down to Devonshire on account of the serious illness of some near relative, and accordingly Frank Lavender started by himself to bring back with him his Highland bride. His stay in Borva was short enough on this occasion. At the end of it there came a certain wet and boisterous day, the occurrences in which he afterward remembered as if they had taken place in a dream. There were many faces about, a confusion of tongues, a good deal of dram-drinking, a skirl of pipes, and a hurry through the rain; but all these things gave place to the occasional glance that he got from a pair of timid and trusting and beautiful eyes. Yet Sheila was not Sheila in that dress of white, with her face a trifle pale. She was more his own Sheila when she had donned her rough garments of blue, and when she stood on the wet deck of the vessel, with a great gray shawl around her, talking to her father with a brave effort at cheerfulness, although her lip would occasionally quiver as one or other, of her friends from Borva—many of them barefooted children—came up to bid her good-bye. Her father talked rapidly, with a grand affectation of indifference. He swore at the weather. He bade her see that Bras [pg 688] was properly fed, and if the sea broke over his box in the night, he was to be rubbed dry, and let out in the morning for a run up and down the deck. She was not to forget the parcel directed to an innkeeper at Oban. They would find Oban a very nice place at which to break the journey to London, but as for Greenock, Mackenzie could find no words with which to describe Greenock.

And then, in the midst of all this, Sheila suddenly said, "Papa, when does the steamer leave?"

"In a few minutes. They have got nearly all the cargo on board."

"Will you do me a great favor, papa?"

"Ay, but what is it, Sheila?"

"I want you not to stay here till the boat sails, and then you will have all the people on the quay vexing you when you are going away. I want you to bid good-bye to us now, and drive away round to the point, and we shall see you the last of all when the steamer has got out of the harbor."

"Ferry well, Sheila, I will do that," he said, knowing well why the girl wished it.

So father and daughter bade good-bye to each other; and Mackenzie went on shore with his face down, and said not a word to any of his friends on the quay, but got into the wagonette, and, lashing the horses, drove rapidly away. As he had shaken hands with Lavender, Lavender had said to him, "Well, we shall soon be back in Borva again to see you;" and the old man had merely tightened the grip of his hand as he left.

The roar of the steam-pipes ceased, the throb of the engines struck the water, and the great steamer steamed away from the quay and out of the plain of the harbor into a wide world of gray waves and wind and rain. There stood Mackenzie as they passed, the dark figure clearly seen against the pallid colors of the dismal day; and Sheila waved a handkerchief to him until Stornoway and its lighthouse and all the promontories and bays of the great island had faded into the white mists that lay along the horizon. And then her arm fell to her side, and for a moment she stood bewildered, with a strange look in her eyes of grief, and almost of despair.

"Sheila, my darling, you must go below now," said her companion: "you are almost dead with cold."

She looked at him for a moment, as though she had scarcely heard what he said. But his eyes were full of pity for her: he drew her closer to him, and put his arms round her, and then she hid her head in his bosom and sobbed there like a child.



Dutens and several others who have written upon gems and precious stones during the last two centuries have asserted that the ancients were unacquainted with the true emerald, and that Heliodorus, when speaking nearly two thousand years ago of "gems green as a meadow in the spring," or Pliny, when describing stone of a "soft green lustre," referred to the peridot, the plasma, the malachite, or the far rarer gem, the green sapphire. But the antiquary has come to the rescue with the treasures of the despoiled mounds of Tuscany, the exposed ashes of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and now exhibits emeralds which were mounted in gold two thousand years before Columbus dreamed of the New World, or Pizarro and his remorseless band gathered the precious stones by the hundred-weight from the spoils of Peru. Although these specimens of antique jewelry set with emeralds may be numbered by the score or more in the [pg 689] museums and "reliquaries" of Europe, but very few engraved emeralds have descended to us from ancient times: This rarity is not due to the hardness of the stone, for the ancient lapidaries cut the difficult and still harder sapphire: therefore we must believe the statement of the early gem-writers that the emerald was exempted from the glyptic art by common consent on account of its beauty and costliness.

The emerald is now one of the rarest of gems, and its scarcity gives rise to the inquiry as to what has become of the abundant shower of emeralds which fairly rained upon Spain during the early days of the conquest of Mexico and Peru, bringing down the value of fine stones to a trifling price. As with all commercial articles, there is a waste and loss to be accounted for during the wear of three centuries, but this alone will not explain their present rarity in civilized countries. Even in the times of Charles II., when the destitution of the country was extreme, the dukes of Infantado and Albuquerque had millions in diamonds, rubies and precious stones, yet hardly possessed a single sou. So impoverished was the land, and so slender were the purses of all, that the duke of Albuquerque dined on an egg and a pigeon, yet it required six weeks to make an inventory of his plate. At this period, when the nobles gave fêtes the lamps were often decorated with emeralds and the ceilings garlanded with precious stones. The women fairly blazed with sparkling gems of fabulous value, while the country was starving. Most, if not all, of this missing treasure was transferred to Asia, and with the silver current which flowed steadily from the Spanish coffers into India went many of the emeralds also; for in those regions this gem is regarded as foreign stone, and the natives, investing it with the possession of certain talismanic properties, prize it above all earthly treasures.

When the Spaniards commenced their march toward the capital of Mexico, they were astonished at the magnificence of the costumes of the chiefs who came to meet them as envoys or join them as allies, and among the splendid gems which adorned their persons they recognized emeralds and turquoises of such rare perfection and beauty that their cupidity was excited to the highest degree. During the after years of conquest and occupation the avaricious spoilers sought in vain for the parent ledge where these precious stones were found. Recent times have, however, revealed the home of the Mexican turquoise, which has proved to be in the northern part of Mexico, as the Totonacs informed the inquiring Spaniards. The first of these mines, which is of great antiquity, is situated in the Cerrillos Mountains, eighteen miles from Santa Fé. The deposit occurs in soft trachyte, and an immense cavity of several hundred feet in extent has been excavated by the Indians while searching for this gem in past times. Probably some of the fine turquoises worn by the Aztec nobles at the time of the Spanish Conquest came from this mine. Another mine is located in the Sierra Blanca Mountains in New Mexico, but the Navajos will not allow strangers to visit it. Stones of transcendent beauty have been taken from it, and handed down in the tribe from generation to generation as heirlooms. Nothing tempts the cupidity of the Indians to dispose of these gems, and gratitude alone causes them to part with any of these treasures, which, like the mountaineers of Thibet, they regard with mystical reverence. The Navajos wear them as ear-drops, by boring them and attaching them to the ear by means of a deer sinew. Lesser stones are pierced, then strung on sinews and worn as neck-laces. Even the nobler Ute Indians, when stripping the ornaments of turquoise from the ears of the conquered Navajos, value them as sacred treasures, and refuse to part with them even for gold or silver.

All the Spanish accounts of the invasion of Mexico agree in the great abundance of emeralds, both in the adornment of the chiefs and nobles and also in the decoration of the gods, the thrones and the paraphernalia. The Mexican historian Ixtlilxochitl says the throne of gold [pg 690] in the palace of Tezcuco was inlaid with turquoises and other precious stones—that a human skull in front of it was crowned with an immense emerald of a pyramidal form.

The great standard of the republic of Tlascala was richly ornamented with emeralds and silver-work. The fantastic helmets of the chiefs glittered with gold and precious stones, and their plumes were set with emeralds. The mantle of Montezuma was held together by a clasp of the green chalchivitl (jade), and the same precious gem, with emeralds of uncommon size, ornamented other parts of his dress.

The Mexicans carved the obdurate jade and emerald with wonderful skill, using, like the Peruvians, nothing but silicious powder and copper instruments alloyed with tin. They also worked with exquisite taste in gold and silver, and they represented Nature so faithfully and so beautifully that the great naturalist Hernandez took many of these objects thus portrayed for his models when describing the natural history of the country.

When Cortés returned home he displayed five emeralds of extraordinary size and beauty, and presented them to his bride, the niece of the duke de Bejar. On his famous expedition along the Pacific coast and up the Gulf of California he was reduced to such want as to be obliged to pawn these jewels for a time. One of them was as precious as Shylock's turquoise, and Gomara states that some Genoese merchants who examined it in Seville offered forty thousand golden ducats for it. One of the emeralds was in the form of a rose; the second in that of a horn; the third like a fish with eyes of gold; the fourth was like a little bell, with a fine pearl for a tongue, and it bore on its rim the following inscription in Spanish: "Blessed is he who created thee!" The fifth, which was the most valuable of all, was in the form of a small cup with a foot of gold, and with four little chains of the same metal attached to a large pearl as a button: the edge of the cup was of gold, on which was engraved in Latin words, "Inter natos mulierum non surrexit major." These splendid gems are now buried deep in the sand on the coast of Barbary, where they were lost in 1529, when Cortés was shipwrecked with the admiral of Castile whilst on their way to assist Charles V. at the siege of Algiers.

The quantity of emeralds obtained by the Spaniards in their pillage of Mexico was large, but it was trifling when compared with that collected by Pizarro and his remorseless followers in the sack of Peru. Many large and magnificent stones were obtained by the Spaniards, but the transcendent gem of all, called by the Peruvians the Great Mother, and nearly as large as an ostrich egg, was concealed by the natives, and all the efforts of Pizarro and his successors to discover it proved unavailing.

The immense uncut Peruvian emerald given by Rudolph II. to the elector of Saxony is still preserved in the Green Vaults at Dresden. This collection is the finest in the world, and is of the value of many millions of dollars. The treasures are arranged in eight apartments, each surpassing the previous one in the splendor and richness of its contents. This museum dates from the early period when the Freyburg silver-mines yielded vast revenues, and made the Saxon princes among the richest sovereigns in Europe. With lavish hand these potentates purchased jewels and works of art, and the treasures they have thus accumulated are of immense value, and remind the traveler of the gorgeous descriptions of Oriental magnificence.

The finest emerald in Europe is said to belong to the emperor of Russia. It weighs but thirty carats, but it is of the most perfect transparency and of the most beautiful color. There are many other fine emeralds among the imperial jewels of the czar, some of which are of great size and rare beauty. The ancient crown of Vladimir glitters with four great stones of unusual brilliancy. The grand state sceptre is surmounted by another emerald of great size. The sceptre of Poland, which is now treasured in the Kremlin, has a long green stone, fractured in the middle. It is not [pg 691] described, and may be one of the Siberian tourmalines, some of which closely approach the emerald in hue. The imperial orb of Russia, which is of Byzantine workmanship of the tenth century, has fifty emeralds. This fact alone would seem to prove that emeralds were known in Europe or Asia Minor long before the discovery of America; but, on the other hand, the ancient crown which was taken when Kasan was subjugated in 1553 is destitute of emeralds. And hence we are inclined to believe the imperial orb to be of modern workmanship, especially as some of the ancient state chairs do not exhibit emeralds among their decorations of gems and precious stones.

Nowhere in North America do the true emeralds occur. Professor Cleaveland, who was one of the best authorities of his day, maintained nearly half a century ago that emeralds which exhibited a lively and beautiful green hue were found in blasting a canal through a ledge of graphic granite in the town of Topsham in Maine. Several of the crystals presented so pure, uniform and rich a green that he ventured to pronounce them precious emeralds. But to-day we are unable to verify the assertion, or point to a single specimen similar in hue to the emerald from the above-mentioned locality.

The nearest approach to the emerald in color, with the exception of the incomparable green tourmalines from Maine, are the beryls of North and South Royalston in the State of Massachusetts. These beautiful stones exhibit the physical, characteristics of emeralds with the exception of the color, in which they differ very perceptibly. But to appreciate fully the difference in hue we must compare the two gems. Then the lively green of the beryl fades away before the overpowering hue of the emerald, whose rich prismatic green may be taken as the purest type of that color known to the chemist or the painter.

Two summers ago we visited the localities in Massachusetts which were famous in the days of Hitchcock and Webster. We found that the beryls occurred in a very coarse granite, where the quartz appeared in masses and the felspar in huge crystals. These also occur in finer granite, and exhibit no indications of veins or connection with each other. They are few in number, and are soon exhausted by blasting, being generally very superficial. After removing several tons of the rock at the locality at North Royalston, where the beryls appear on the summit of the loftiest hill, our labors were at length rewarded with two beautiful crystals. One of them was a fine prism an inch in diameter, of perfect transparency and of a deep sea-green color, which, however is far from being similar to the transcendent hue of the Granada emeralds, which exhibit an excess of neither blue nor yellow. The other was yellowish-green, resembling the chrysoberyls of Brazil.

Other but imperfect crystals were brought to light, some fragments of which exhibited the deepest golden tints of the topaz, and others the tints of the sherry-wine colored topazes of Siberia. Magnificent crystals have been found in these localities in times long past, and from the fragments and sections of crystals found in the débris of early explorations we observed the wide range of color and the deep longitudinal striae which characterize the renowned beryls from the Altai Mountains, in Siberia. Lively sea- and grass-green, light and deep yellow, also blue crystals of various shades, have been found here.

At the quarries on Rollestone Mountain in Fitchburg beryls of a rich golden color have been blasted out. Some of these approach the chrysoberyl and topaz in hardness and hue. Others so closely resemble the yellow diamond that they may readily be taken for that superior gem. The refractive power of these yellow stones is remarkable, and the goniometer will probably reveal a higher index than is accorded to all the varieties of beryl by the learned Abbé Haüy.

Beautiful transparent beryls have been found among the granite hills of Oxford county in Maine, and the late Governor Lincoln nearly half a century ago [pg 692] possessed a splendid crystal which would have rivaled the superb prism found at Mouzzinskaia, and which the Russians value so highly. The extended and unexplored ledges of granite which rise from the shores of the ocean at Harpswell in Maine, and stretch north-westward for nearly a hundred miles, quite to the base of the White Mountain group, are not only rich in beryls, but they contain many of the rarest minerals known to the mineralogist. And perhaps there is no other field of equal extent in the country which offers to the mineralogist such a harvest of the rare and curious productions of the mineral kingdom.

At Haddam in Connecticut beautiful crystals of beryl have been discovered, and one of these, of fine green color, an inch in diameter and several inches in length, was preserved in the cabinet of Colonel Gibbs. Professor Silliman possessed another fine one, seven inches in length.

The mountains in Colorado have yielded some fine specimens. But the finest of the beryl species come from Russia. In the Ural Mountains the crystals are small, but of fine color; in the Altai Mountains they are very large and of a greenish blue; but in the granitic ledges of Odon Tchelon in Daouria, on the frontier of China, they are found in the greatest perfection. They occur on the summit of the mountain in irregular veins of micaceous and white indurated clay, and are greenish-yellow, pure pale green, greenish-blue and sky-blue. The chief matrix of the beryl all over the world is graphic granite, but it may occur in other rocks. The light green stones of Limoges in France appear in a vein of quartz traversing granite. At Royalston we observed them to spring seemingly from the felspar and project into smoky quartz, becoming more transparent as they advanced into the harder stone.

The beryl possesses the same crystalline form and specific gravity as the emerald, but its hardness (especially in the yellow varieties) is sometimes greater. The only perceptible difference in the two stones is in the color. Cleaveland thought that as the emerald and beryl had the same essential characters, they might gradually pass into each other; and Klaproth, finding the oxides of both chrome and iron in one specimen, was led to take the same view. The crystals of true emerald are almost always small (with the exception of those found in the Wald district in Siberia), whilst those of the beryl vary from a few grains to more than a ton in weight. The crystals of both are almost invariably regular hexahedral prisms, sometimes slightly modified. Those of the beryl we sometimes find quite flat, as though they had been compressed by force: then again they are acicular and of extraordinary length, considering their slender diameter. Sometimes their lateral faces are longitudinally striated, and as deeply as the tourmaline, so that the edges of the prism are rendered indistinct. Other crystals are curved, and some perforated in the axis like the tourmaline, so as to contain other minerals. Sometimes they are articulated like the pillars of basalt, and separated at some distance by the intervening quartz. These modified forms give rise to curious speculations as to their formation and origin. If we admit the action of fire (which is improbable), then the separation may be easily explained; but if we insist that they were deposited in the wet way and by slow process, how can we account for the dislocation? "By electricity," whispers a friend—"by telluric magnetism, that wonderful unexplained and mysterious force which has caused the grand geological changes of the globe, and is still at work."

No other gem has been counterfeited with such perfection as the emerald; and in fact it is utterly impossible to distinguish the artificial from the real gems by the aid of the eye alone: even the little flaws which lull the suspicions of the inexperienced are easily produced by a dexterous blow from the mallet of the skilled artisan. Not only emeralds, but most of the gems and precious stones, are now imitated with such consummate skill as to deceive the eye, and none but experts are aware of the extent to which these fictitious gems are worn [pg 693] in fashionable society, for oftentimes the wearers themselves imagine that they possess the real stones. There is not one in a hundred jewelers who is acquainted with the physical properties of the gems, and very few can distinguish the diamond from the white zircon or the white topaz, the emerald from the tourmaline of similar hue, the sapphire from iolite, or the topaz from the Bohemian yellow quartz. Jewelers are governed generally by sight, which they believe to be infallible, whilst hardness and specific gravity are the only sure tests.

Artificial gems rivaling in beauty of color the most brilliant and delicately tinted of the productions of Nature are now made at Paris and in other European cities. The establishments at Septmoncel in the Jura alone employ a thousand persons, and fabulous quantities of the glittering pastes are made there and sent to all parts of the world.

A fine specimen of prase when cut affords a fair imitation of the emerald. The green fluor-spar which Haüy called "emeraude de Carthagène" may also be substituted, but the application of the file detects the trick with ease. Some of the green tourmalines approach the emeralds in hue very closely, and by artificial light it is impossible to distinguish them from each other. Fragments of quartz may be stained by being steeped in green-colored tinctures. The Greeks stained quartz so like the real gem that Pliny exclaimed against the fraud while declining to tell how it was done. The Ancona rubies at the present day are made by plunging quartz into a hot tincture of cochineal, which penetrates the minute fissures of the rock.

But notwithstanding the high art reached by modern glass-makers, they are yet far behind the ancients in imitating the emerald in point of hardness and lustre. Many emerald pastes of Roman times still extant are with difficulty distinguished from the real gem, so much harder and lustrous are they than modern glass. The ancient Phoenician remains found in the island of Sardinia by Cavalier Cara in 1856 show fine color in their enamels and glass-works. The green pigment brought home from the ruins of Thebes by Mr. Wilkinson was shown by Dr. Ure to consist of blue glass in powder, with yellow ochre and colorless glass. From Greek inscriptions dating from the period of the Peloponnesian war we learn that there were signets of colored glass among the gems in the treasury of the Parthenon.

Of all the emerald imitations that have descended to us from antiquity, none are more remarkable, none more interesting to the antiquary and historian, than the famous Sacro Catino of the cathedral of Genoa. This celebrated relic is a glass dish or patera fourteen inches in width, five inches in depth and of the richest transparent green color, though disfigured by several flaws. It was bestowed upon the republic of Genoa by the Crusaders after the capture of Caesarea in 1101, and was regarded as an equivalent for a large sum of money due from the Christian army. It was traditionally believed to have been presented to King Solomon by the queen of Sheba, and afterward preserved in the Temple, and some accounts relate that it was used by Christ at the institution of the Lord's Supper. The Genoese received it with so much veneration and faith that twelve nobles were appointed to guard it, and it was exhibited but once a year, when a priest held it up in his hand to the view of the passing throng. The state in 1319, in a time of pressing need, pawned the holy relic for twelve hundred marks of gold (two hundred thousand dollars), and redeemed it with a promptness which proved its belief in the reality of the material as well as in its sanctity. And it is also related that the Jews, during a period of fifty years, lent the republic four million francs, holding the sacred relic as a pledge of security. Seven hundred years passed away, when Napoleon came, and as he swept down over Italy, gathering her art-treasures, he ordered the "Holy Grail" to be conveyed to Paris. It was deposited in the Cabinet of Antiquities in the Imperial Library, and the mineralogists quickly discovered it to be glass. It is due to the memory of [pg 694] Condamine to state that he was the first to doubt the material of the Sacro Catino, for, when examining it by lamplight in 1757, in the presence of the princes Corsini, he observed none of the cracks, clouds and specks common to emeralds, but detected little bubbles of air. In 1815 the Allies ordered its return to the cathedral of Genoa. During this journey the beautiful relic was broken, but its fragments were restored by a skillful artisan, and it is now supported upon a tripod, the fragments being held together by a band of gold filigree. This remarkable object of antiquity, which is of extraordinary beauty of material and workmanship, furnishes a theme over which the antiquaries love to muse and wrangle.

Another of the antique monster emeralds, weighing twenty-nine pounds, was presented to the abbey of Reichenau near Constance by Charlemagne. Beckman has also detected this precious relic to be glass. And probably the great emerald of two pounds weight brought home from the Holy Land by one of the dukes of Austria, and now deposited in the collection at Vienna, is of the same material. The hardness of our glass is yet far inferior to that of the ancients, and even the ruby lustre of the potters of Umbria, which was so precious to the dilettanti of the Cinque Cento period, has not been recovered.

The emerald has been a subject of controversy among the chemists and mineralogists, and its character, especially the cause of its beautiful color, is not clearly defined even at the present day. But that distinguished chemist, Professor Lewy of Paris, seems to offer, thus far, the most correct and plausible theory. Ten years ago he boldly asserted that the hue is not due to the oxide of chromium, and with this opinion he confronted such eminent men as Vauquelin, Klaproth and others of high rank in the scientific world. Not content with his researches in his laboratory in Paris, he resolutely crossed the ocean and sought the emerald in its parent ledges in the lofty table-lands of New Granada. Here he obtained new information of a geological character which goes far to strengthen his position. The experiments of M. Lewy indicate, if they do not prove, that the coloring matter of the emerald is organic, and readily destroyed by heat, which would not be the case if it was due to the oxide of chromium. All my own fire-tests with the Granada emerald corroborate the views of M. Lewy, for in every instance the gem lost its hue when submitted to a red heat.

Nevertheless, the recent researches of Wöhler and Rose give negative results. These experienced chemists kept an emerald at the temperature of melted copper for an hour, and found that, although the stone had become opaque, the color was not affected. They therefore considered the oxide of chromium to be the coloring agent, without, however, denying the presence of organic matter. The amount of the oxide of chromium found by many chemists varies from one to two per cent., while Lewy and others found it in a quantity so small as to be inappreciable, and too minute to be weighed.

Before the ordinary blowpipe the emerald passes rapidly into a whitish vesicular glass, and with borax it forms a fine green glass, while its sub-species, the beryl, changes into a colorless bead: with salt of phosphorus it slowly dissolves, leaving a silicious skeleton.2

M. Lewy visited the mines at Muzo in Granada, and from the results of his analyses, together with the fact of finding emeralds in conjunction with the presence of fossil shells in the limestone in which they occur, he arrived at the conclusion that they have been formed in the wet way—deposited from a chemical solution. He also found that when extracted they are so soft and fragile that the largest and finest fragments can [pg 695] be reduced to powder by merely rubbing them between the fingers, and the crystals often crack and fall to pieces after being removed from the mine, apparently from loss of water. Consequently, when the emeralds are first extracted they are laid aside carefully for a few days until the water is evaporated.

This statement relative to the softness of the gem and its subsequent hardening has been met with a shout of derision from some of the gem-seekers—none louder than that of Barbot, the retired jeweler. Barbot seems to forget that the rock of which his own house in Paris is constructed undergoes the same change after being removed from the deep quarries in the catacombs under the city. This phenomenon is observed with many rocks. Flints acquire additional toughness by the evaporation of water contained in them. The steatite of St. Anthony's Falls grows harder on exposure, and other minerals when quarried from considerable depths become firmer on exposure to the action of the air. Observations of this kind led Kuhlman to investigate the cause, and he believes that the hardening of rocks is not owing solely to the evaporation of quarry-water, but that it depends upon the tendency which all earthy matters possess to undergo a spontaneous crystallization by slow dessication, which commences the moment the rock is exposed to the air.

The coloring matter of the emerald seems to be derived from the decomposition of the remains of animals who have lived in a bygone age, and whose remains are now found fossilized in the rock which forms the matrix of the gem. This rock in Granada is a black limestone, with white veins containing ammonites. Specimens of these rocks exhibiting fragments of emeralds in situ, and also ammonites, are to be seen in the mineralogical gallery of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Lewy believes that the beautiful tint of these gems is produced by an organic substance, which he considers to be a carburet of hydrogen, similar to that called chlorophyll, which constitutes the coloring matter of the leaves of plants; and he has shown that the emeralds of the darkest hue, which contain the greatest amount of organic matter, lose their color completely at a low red heat, and become opaque and white; while minerals and pastes which are well known to be colored by chromium, like the green garnets (the lime-chrome garnets) of Siberia, are unchanged in hue by the action of heat.

Since the time of the Spanish Conquest, New Granada has furnished the world with the most of its emeralds. The most famous mines are at Muzo, in the valley of Tunca, between the mountains of New Granada and Popayan, about seventy-five miles from Santa Fé de Bogota, where every rock, it is said, contains an emerald. At present the supply of emeralds is very limited, owing to restrictions on trade and want of capital and energy in mining operations.

Blue as well as green emeralds are found in the Cordillera of the Cubillari. The Esmeraldas mines in Equador are said to have been worked successfully at one period by the Jesuits. The Peruvians obtained many emeralds from the barren district of Atacama, and in the times of the Conquest there were quarries on the River of Emeralds near Barbacoas.

Emeralds are found in Siberia, and some of the localities may have furnished to the ancients the Scythian gems which Pliny and others mention. In the Wald district magnificent crystals have been found embedded in mica-slate. One of these—a twin-crystal, now in the Imperial Cabinet at St. Petersburg—is seven inches long, four inches broad, and weighs four and a half pounds. There is another mass in the same collection which measures fourteen inches long by twelve broad and five thick, weighing sixteen and three-quarter pounds troy. This group shows twenty crystals from a half inch to five inches long, and from one to two inches broad. They were discovered by a peasant cutting wood near the summit of the mountain. His eye was attracted by the lustrous sparkling amongst the decomposed mica and where the ground had been exposed by the uprooting of a tree by [pg 696] the violence of the wind. He collected a number of the crystals, and brought them to Katharineburg and showed them to M. Kokawin, who recognized them and sent them to St. Petersburg, where they were critically examined by Van Worth and pronounced to be emeralds. One of these crystals was presented by the emperor to Humboldt when he visited St. Petersburg, and it is now deposited in the Berlin collection. Quite a number of emeralds are now brought from the Siberian localities, and it is believed that enterprise and capital would produce a large supply of the gem.3

The supply of emeralds from South America is very limited, and may be ascribed to want of skillful mining, as well as to climate, the political condition of the country and the indolence of its inhabitants. The localities cannot be exhausted, for they are too numerous and extensive. The elevated regions in Granada admit of scientific exploration by Europeans, and at the present day the only emerald-mining operations conducted in South America have been prosecuted near Santa Fé de Bogota by a French company, which has paid the government fourteen thousand dollars yearly for the right of mining, all the emeralds obtained being sent to Paris to be cut by the lapidaries of that city.

In the Atacama districts, and along the banks of the River of Emeralds, the physical obstructions are difficult to overcome, and pestilential diseases of malignant character forbid the long sojourn of the European. Yet the introduction of Chinese labor may prove successful and highly remunerative, since the coolie reared among the jungles and rice-swamps of Southern China is quite as exempt from malarial fevers as the negro.

The price of the emerald has no fixed and extended scale, like that of the diamond, and the fluctuations of its value during the past three centuries form an interesting chapter in the history of gems.

[pg 146]

In the time of Dutens (1777) the price of small stones of the first quality was one louis the carat; one and a half carats, five louis; two carats, ten louis; and beyond this weight no rule of value could be established. In De Boot's day (1600) emeralds were so plenty as to be worth only a quarter as much as the diamond. The markets were glutted with the frequent importations from Peru, and thirteen years before the above-mentioned period one vessel brought from South America two hundred and three pounds of fine emeralds, worth at the present valuation more than seven millions of dollars. At the beginning of this century, according to Caire, they were worth no more than twenty-four francs (or about five dollars) the carat, and for a long time antecedent to 1850 they were valued at only fifteen dollars the carat. Since this period they have become very rare, and their valuation has advanced enormously. In fact, the value of the emerald now exceeds that of the diamond, and is rapidly approaching the ratio fixed by Benevenuto Cellini in the middle of the sixteenth century, which rated the emerald at four times, and the ruby at eight times, the value of the diamond. Perfect stones (the emerald is exceedingly liable to flaw, the beryl is more free, and the green sapphire is rarely impaired by fissures or cracks) of one carat in weight are worth at the present day two hundred dollars in gold. Perfect gems of two carats weight will command five hundred dollars in gold, while larger stones are sold at extravagant prices.

Most of our aqua-marinas come from Brazil and Siberia, and small stones are sold at trifling prices. Some of them, however, when perfect and of fine color, command fabulous sums. The superb little beryl found at Mouzzinskaia is valued by the Russians at the enormous sum of one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, although the crystal weighs but little more than one ounce. Another rough prism preserved in the Museum at Paris, and weighing less than one hundred grains, has received the tempting offer of fifteen thousand francs.


Footnote 2: (return)

A curious result happened to the elder Silliman when experimenting with a Peruvian emerald before the compound blowpipe. The reducing flame instantly melted it into a transparent green globule. Perhaps the intense heat of this all-powerful flame, which reduces even the diamond, recalled the colors which disappear at a lower temperature. But this could not be done if the color was due to organic matter, which is annihilated or modified beyond recall by combustion.

Footnote 3: (return)

Several of the natural crystals of the Siberian emeralds of large size and beautiful color are now to be seen in the valuable and choice collections of Messrs. Clay and William S. Vaux of Philadelphia.

[pg 697]



It rained during the night. The wind blew feebly in the morning, and the sunlight glimmered dully from behind the flying gray clouds. Catharine looked out of her window, anxiously pushing aside the boughs full of wet white roses. The sense of desolation was not strong enough upon her to make her forget that Peter had not yet cut the clover in the lower meadow, and that such a rain was bad for the tomatoes. Doctor McCall was at the gate, propping up an old Bourbon rose, an especial favorite of her father's. Somebody tapped at her door, and Miss Muller rustled in in a flounced white muslin and rose-colored ribbons. She too hurried to the window and looked down.

"I asked him to meet me here, Kitty. I can't make you understand, probably, but the Water-cure House is so bald and bare! There is something in the shade here, and the old books, and this wilderness of roses, that forms a fitting background for a friendship like ours, aesthetically considered."

"I'm very glad. It's lucky I told Jane to have waffles—"

"I'll go down," interrupted Miss Muller, "and direct her about the table. Coarse tablecloths and oily butter would jar against the finest emotions. What very pretty shoulders you have, child! Such women as you, like potatoes, are best au naturel. Now, with those corsets, and this red shawl over the back of your chair, you would make a very good Madonna of the Rubens school. Men's ideal of womanhood then was to be plump, insipid and a mother."

"But about the oily butter?" said Kitty, glancing back over the aforesaid shoulders as she stooped to lace her shoes, while Maria hurried off to the kitchen. "Jane will jar against her finer emotions, I fancy, when she begins to order her about."

But Kitty lost all relish for fun before she sat down to the breakfast-table. Mr. Muller came in. The poor little man hurried to her side: "I passed a sleepless night, Catharine. I feared that I had been rough with you. I forget so often how gentle and tender you are, my darling."

Catharine was puzzled: "Upon my word, I've forgotten what happened. And I really never feel especially gentle or tender. You are mistaken about that."

When she took her place behind the urn, Maria motioned her brother to the foot of the table, and then nodded significantly. "Now you two can imagine a month or two has passed," she said.

Even Doctor McCall smiled meaningly. Mr. Muller blushed, and glanced shyly at Catharine. But she looked at him unmoved. "Our table will not be like this," gravely. "You forget the three hundred blue-coats between." Maria laughed, but Doctor McCall for the first time looked steadily at the girl.

First of all, perhaps, Kitty was just then a housekeeper. She waited anxiously to see if the steak was properly rare and the omelette light, nodded brightly to Jane, who stood watchful behind her, and then looked over at her betrothed, thinking how soon they would sit down tête-à-tête for the rest of their lives, perhaps for eternity, for, according to her orthodoxy, there could be no new loves in heaven. How fat he was, and bald! The mild blue eyes behind their glasses took possession of her and held her.

She listened to the talk between Doctor McCall and Miss Muller in a language she had never learned. Maria's share of it was largely made up of headlong dives into Spencer and Darwin, with reminiscences of The Dial, while Doctor McCall's was anchored fast down to facts; but it was all alive, suggestive, brilliant. They were young. They were drinking life and love with full cups. [pg 698] She (looking over at the bald head and spectacled eyes) had gone straight out of childhood into middle age and respectability.

The breakfast was over at last. Miss Muller followed Doctor McCall into the shop, where he fell to turning over the old books, and then to the garden. What was the use of a stage properly set if the drama would not begin?

"Pray do not worry any longer with that old bush," as he went back to Peter's rose. "It is not a trait of yours to be persistent about trifles. Or stay: give me a bud for my hair."

"Not these!" sharply, holding her hand. "I could not see one of these roses on any woman's head."

She smiled, very well pleased: "You perceive some subtle connection between me and the flower?"

"Nothing of the sort. There are some, planted, I suppose, by that little girl, which will be more becoming to your face."

"You are repelled by 'the little girl,' I see, John. I always told you your instincts were magnetic. That type of woman is antipathetic to you."

He laughed: "I have no instincts, hardly ideas, about either roses or types of women. If I avoided Miss Vogdes, it was because her name recalled one of the old hard experiences of my boyhood. The girl herself is harmless enough, no doubt."

"And the rose?"

"The rose? Why, we have no time to waste in such talk as this. You have not yet told me how you managed to get your profession. When I last saw you you had set all the old professors in the university at defiance. Did you carry lectures and cliniques by strategy or assault? You have good fighting qualities, Maria."

She would rather not have gone over her battle with the doctors just then: she would rather he had talked of her "magnetic instincts," her hair, her eyes—anything else than her fighting qualities. But she told him. There was an inexplicable delight to her in telling him anything—even the time of day. Was he not a pioneer, a captain among men, a seer in the realms of thought, keeping step with her in all her high imaginings? Ordinary people, it is true, set McCall down as an ordinary fellow, genial and hearty—not a very skillful physician, perhaps, but a shrewd farmer, and the best judge of mules or peaches in Kent county. Maria, however, saw him with the soul's eye.

Kitty meanwhile sat by the window mending the clothes that had come out of the wash. Mr. Muller was reading some letters relative to the school to her. This was the day of the week on which she always mended the clothes, and Mr. Muller had fallen into the habit of reading to her while she did so. But to-day the Reformatory rose before her a prison, the gates of which were about to close on her. The heap of stockings, the touch of the darning cotton, the sound of Mr. Muller's droning voice, were maddening to her: every moment she made a tangle in her thread, looking down at Maria under the Bourbon rose, and the attentive face bent over her. Where should she go? What should she do? Had the world nothing in it for her but this? Yesterday she had made up her mind to go to Delaware to find Hugh Guinness, alive or dead, and bring him to his father. That would be work worth doing. This morning she remembered that Delaware was a wide hunting-ground—that she had never been ten miles from home in her life. If there were anybody to give her advice! This Doctor McCall had seemed to her to-day as, in fact, he did to most people, practical, honest, full of information. He would too, she somehow felt, understand her wild fancy. But—

"Why should Doctor McCall dislike me?" she broke in at the close of one of Mr. Muller's expositions.

"What an absurd fancy, child!" looking up in amazement. "The man was civil enough to you for so slight an acquaintance."

"It was more than dislike," vehemently. "He watched me all through breakfast as though he owed me a grudge. I could see it in his eyes."

[pg 699]

"You oughtn't to see any eyes but mine, Cathie dear," with anxious playfulness. "Why should you care for the opinion of any man?"

"Because he is different from any man I ever knew. He belongs to the world outside. I always did wonder if people would like me out there," said Kitty, too doggedly in earnest to see how her words hurt her listener. "If one could be like those two people yonder! They seem to know everything—they can do everything!"

"Maria is well enough—for a woman," dryly. "But I never heard McCall credited with exceptional ability of any sort."

Kitty glanced at him: "Of course you're right," quickly. "Men only can judge of character: we women are apt to be silly about such things." Her kind heart felt a wrench at having hurt this good soul. She put her fingers on his fat hand with a touch that was almost a caress. He turned red with surprise and pleasure. "But it is pleasant," she said, glancing down again to the Bourbon rose, "to see such love as that. They will be married soon, I suppose?"

"Very likely. I never knew of any love in the case before. But Maria is such a manager! And you think of love, then, sometimes?" timidly putting his arm about her.

"Oh to be sure! How can you doubt that? But it grows chilly. I must bring a sacque," hurrying away; and in fact she looked cold, and shivered.


"Doctor McCall recognizes the Book-house, just as I did, as the right background for communion like ours," Miss Muller said complacently to Kitty a week later. "He meets me here every day."

"Yes," said Catharine with a perplexed look. She had no special instincts or intuitions, but her eyes were as keen and observant as a lynx's. He came, she saw, to the Book-house every day. But had he no other purpose than to meet Maria?

"I did not know that McCall affected scholarship," said Mr. Muller tartly the next day. "He tells me that he has a peach-farm to manage. August is no time to loiter away, poring over old books. Just the peach season."

"No," Kitty replied demurely. But her face wore again the puzzled look. She began to watch Doctor McCall. He really knew but little, she saw, of rare books: his reading of them was a mere pretence. He was neither a lazy nor a morbid man: what pleasure could he have in neglecting his work day after day, sitting alone in the dusky old shop as if held there by some enchantment? Kitty knew that she herself had nothing to do with it: she appeared to be no more in his way than a tame dog would be, and, after the first annoyance which she gave him, was really little more noticed. But there is a certain sense of home-snugness and comfort in the presence of tame dogs and of women like Kitty: one cannot be long in the room with either without throwing them a kind word or petting them in some way. Doctor McCall was just the man to fall into such a habit. Down on the farm, his cattle, his hands, even the neighbors with whom he argued on politics, could all have testified to his easy, large good-humor.

"Oh, we are the best of friends," he said indifferently when Maria found Kitty chattering to him once, very much as she did to old Peter. But when Miss Muller, who had no petty jealousies, enlarged on the singular beauty of her eyes and some good points in her shape, he did not respond. "I never could talk of a woman as if she were a horse," he said. "And this little girl seems to me unusually human."

"There's really nothing in her, though. Poor William! He is marrying eyes, I tell him. It's a pitiable marriage!"

"Yes, it is," said Doctor McCall gravely.

After that he neglected the old books sometimes to talk to Kitty. He thought she was such an immature, thoughtless creature that she would not notice that the subject he chose was always the [pg 700] same—her daily life, with old Peter for her chum and confidant.

"Mr. Guinness, then, has had no companion but you?" he said one day, after a searching inspection of her face.

"No, nobody but me," quite forgetful, as she and Peter were too apt to be, that her mother was alive.

"And has had none for years?"

"Not since his son died. Hugh Guinness is dead, you know."

Doctor McCall was looking thoughtfully at the floor. He rose presently and took up his hat: "The old man cannot have been unhappy with such love as you could give him. No man could."

Kitty was sitting, as usual, on a low stool pasting labels on some dog-eared books: as long as McCall stood looking at her round cheeks and double chin she pasted on, apparently unconscious that he was there, but when he turned away she watched him shrewdly as he went uneasily up and down the shop, and finally, with a curt good-bye, turned out of the door. As the stout figure passed through the low branches of the walnuts her gray eyes began to shine. Her Mystery was nearly solved.

Dropping paste and books in a heap, she ran after him, taking a short cut through the currant bushes, so that when he passed on the outer side of the garden fence there she was quietly waiting, her head and face darkly framed by a thick creeper.

"Well?" smiling down, amused, as he might to a playful kitten.

"Doctor McCall," in the queer formal fashion that was Kitty's own, "I should be glad if you would come back this evening. Without Maria. I have some business—that is, a plan of mine. Well, it is a certain thing that—"

"That you wish to consult me about?" after waiting for her to finish.

"Yes, that's it," nodding energetically.

"Very well." He stood looking at her arm on the fence, and the face resting with its chin upon it. McCall, of all men, hated a scene, and he had an uneasy consciousness that he had just betrayed unexplained feeling in the house, and was therefore glad to slip back to commonplaces. Besides, Kitty was exactly the kind of woman whom all men feel an insane desire to help at first sight. "You have a plan, eh? and you want advice, not knowing much about business?"

There was not the least necessity for him to say this, having asked it before. But he did it, and waited to hear Kitty say yes again, and waited still, before he lifted his hat and said good-bye, to see the shadow of a waving branch creep over her white chin and lose itself in her neck. Most men would have done the same, just as they would stop to whistle a laugh from a fat, pretty baby on the street, and then go on, leaving it behind. The last thing in the world to consult on their business, or to ask for help or comfort when trouble met them, or death.

Miss Muller spent the whole day at the Book-house, but Doctor McCall did not come, as she expected. As evening approached she began to shiver, and had premonitory symptoms of clairvoyance, and went home at last, to Kitty's relief. A slow drizzling rain set in: the damp fogs that belong to that river-bottom walled in the house and hung flat over the walnuts like a roof. Catharine had made her own corner of the Book-shop snug and cheerful. The space was wide, the light soft and bright. She placed her own chair by the table, Peter's not far from it. She meant to produce a great effect on this man to-night, to change the whole current of his life, without having the help of either love or even friendship. Unconsciously she planned to bring him close to her, though very likely she had never heard of personal magnetism, or any of the curious secrets political speakers or actors or revivalists could have told her of the deadening effects of distance and empty benches.

Then Kitty, in her room overhead, looked at herself in the glass, arrayed in a soft cashmere, in color blue, still farther toned down, by certain softer fringes and loops, into the very ideal garb for a man's type of "yielding, lovely [pg 701] woman." It was one of the sacred wedding-dresses.

"Maria could never look like this," tying a lace handkerchief about her neck, pulling the soft rings of hair looser about her ears, setting her head on one side, and half shutting her eyes to see the thick and curly lashes.

There was no danger of interruption. Maria was safely lodged in the Water-cure House, and the very idea of Mr. Muller's glossy black shoes and dainty brown umbrella venturing out in the rain made Kitty laugh.

"The dear, good soul is finical as a cat," with the good-natured indulgence of a mother for a child. Suddenly she stopped, stared at herself in the glass. "Why, he is my husband!" she said, speaking to the blushing, blue-robed figure as to another person. Then she hastily unbuttoned, unlooped the pretty dress, threw it off, putting on her usual gray wrapper and knotting her hair more tightly back than ever in a comb. "He has been very good to me—very good to me," her chin trembling a good deal.

Then she went down to meet Doctor McCall, who that moment came into the Book-shop, stopping at the door to take off and shake his oilskin coat.

"It is a wet night," she said, just as though he were a stranger. She did not know what else to say or what he answered as she went about, trimming the lamp, dragging out a chair for him, closing the window curtains. Both McCall and Catharine were ordinary people, accustomed to keep up a good flow of talk on ordinary subjects, the weather or any joke or gossip that was nearest to them. There had been no passages of love or hate between them to account for her forced formality, her trembling and flushing, and urgent almost angry wish to remind him that she was Mr. Muller's affianced wife. She felt this with a new contempt for herself.

As for Doctor McCall, he leaned comfortably back in his arm-chair and dried his legs at the grate filled with red-hot coals, while he listened to the soft rustle of her skirts as she moved noiselessly about him. It is the peculiarity of women like Kitty, to whom Nature has denied the governing power of ideas or great personal beauty or magnetism, such as she gave to Miss Muller, that there is a certain impalpable force and attraction in their most petty actions and words, to which men yield. Miss Muller could have watched Kitty all day dragging chairs and trimming lamps, unmoved farther than to pronounce her little better than an idiot. But Peter, Muller or John McCall could not look at her for five minutes without classing her with Cordelia and Desdemona and all the other sweet fools for whom men have died, and whom the world yet keeps sacred in pathetic memory. Some day too, when Catharine should be a mother—though giving to her older children, little more than to the baby on her breast, soft touches and gentle words—she would bind them to her as no other kind, of mother could do—by such bonds that until they were gray-haired no power should be like hers. Miss Muller neither saw nor foresaw such things. But Doctor McCall did. "If I had had such a mother I should not have been what I am," he thought. It was a curious fancy to have about a young girl. But she seemed to embody all the womanliness that had been lacking in his life. Of course she was nothing to him. She was to be that prig Muller's wife, and he was quite satisfied that she should be. If he married, Maria Muller would be his wife. Yet, oddly enough, he felt to-night, for the first time, the necessity that Maria should know how marriage was barred out from him, and felt, for the first time, too, a maddening anger that it was so barred. However, Doctor McCall was never meant by Nature for a solitary man housed alone with morbid thoughts: he was the stuff out of which useful citizens are made—John Andersons of husbands, doting, gullible fathers.

Remembering the bar in his life, his skeleton, ghost or whatever it was, he was only moved to get up and stretch himself, saying, "I've stayed in Berrytown too long. When you have told me your plan, I'll say good-bye to you, Miss [pg 702] Vogdes, and this old house. I shall be off to-morrow."

Kitty had just caught a moth in the flame of the candle. She carried it to the window. "You will come back soon, of course?" her back still toward him.

"No, I think not. I am neglecting my business. And I, of all men in the world, have least right to loiter about this old house, to look in on its home-life or on you."

Kitty gave him a sharp glance, as though some sudden emergency was clear before her which her tact failed to meet. She was folding the bits of muslin at which she had been sewing in a basket: she finished slowly, put the basket away, and sat down at the table, with her elbow on it and her chin on her hand, her gray eyes suggesting a deeper and unspoken meaning to her words: "But for my plan?"

"Ah! to be sure! You want advice?" seating himself comfortably. Her confusion was a pretty thing to watch, the red creeping up her neck into her face, blotting out its delicate tints, the uncertain glances, the full bitten lip. Doctor McCall quite forgot his own trouble in the keen pleasure of the sight.

"Perhaps—You do not quite understand my position here? Mr. Guinness is not my own father."

"No, I knew that."

"But you cannot know what he has been to me: I never knew until the last few days."

"Why within these few days, Miss Vogdes?"

"Because I saw you and Maria: I saw what love was. I began to think about it. I never have loved anybody but him," she went on headlong, utterly blind to all inferences. "There's a thing I can do for him, Doctor McCall, before I marry Mr. Muller, and I must do it. It will make his old age happier than any other part of his life has been."

McCall nodded, leaning forward. It was nothing but an imprudent girl dragging out her secrets before a stranger; nothing but a heated face, wet eyes, a sweet milky breath; but no tragedy he had ever seen on the stage had moved him so uncontrollably—no, not any crisis in his own life—with such delicious, inexplicable emotion.

"Well, what is it you can do?" after waiting for her to go on.

There was a moment's silence.

"My father," said Kitty, "had once a great trouble. It has made an old man of him before his time. I find that I can take it from him." She looked up at him with this. Now, there was a certain shrewd penetration under the softness of Kitty's eyes. Noting it, McCall instantly lost sight of her beauty and tears. He returned her look coolly.

"What was his trouble?"

"Mr. Guinness had a son. He has believed him to be dead for years: I know that he is not dead."

Doctor McCall waited, with her eyes still upon him. "Well?" he said, attentive.

"And then," pushing back the table and rising, "when I heard that, I meant to go and find Hugh Guinness, and bring him back to his father."

Whatever this matter might be to her hearer, it was the most real thing in life to Catharine, and putting it into words gave it a sudden new force. She felt that she ought to hold her tongue, but she could not. She only knew that the lighted room, the beating of the rain without, the watchful guarded face on the other side of the table, shook and frightened and angered her unaccountably.

"You should not laugh at me," she said. "This is the first work I ever set myself to do. It is better than nursing three hundred children."

"I am not laughing at you, God knows! But this Guinness, if he be alive, remains away voluntarily. There must be a reason for that. You do not consider."

"I do not care to consider. Is the man a log or a stone? If I found him," crossing the room in her heat until she stood beside him—"if I brought him to the old house and to his father? Why, look at this!" dragging open the drawer and taking out the broken gun and rod. "See what he has kept for years—all [pg 703] that was left him of his boy! Look, at that single hair! If Hugh Guinness stood where you do, and touched these things as you are touching them, could he turn his back on the old man?"

Now, Doctor McCall did not touch gun nor cap nor hair, but he bent over the table, looking at them as if he were looking at the dead. He seemed to have forgotten that Kitty was there.

At last he stood upright: "Poor little chap!" with a laugh. "There seemed to be no reason, when he went gunning and fishing like other boys, why he should not stand here to-day with as fair a chance for happiness as any other man. Did there? Just a trifling block laid in his way, a push down hill, and no force could ever drag him up again."

Kitty, her eyes on his, stood silent. Do what he would, he could not shake off her eyes: they wrenched the truth from him, "I knew this man Guinness once," he said.

She nodded: "Yes, I know you did."

"Sit down beside me here, and I will tell you what kind of man he was."

But she did not sit down. An unaccountable terror or timidity seemed to have paralyzed her. She looked aside—everywhere but in his face: "I wanted you to tell me how to reach him, how to touch him: I know what manner of man he is."

"You have heard from your mother? A mixed Border Pike and Mephistopheles, eh? The devil and his victim rolled into one?" He shifted his heavy body uneasily, glancing toward the door. Chief among the graver secret emotions which she had roused in him was the momentary annoyance of not knowing how to deal with this chicken-hearted little girl before him, scared, but on fire from head to foot.

Kitty was quite confident. If it had been Maria Muller who had thus set herself to tamper with a man's life, she would have done it trembling, with fear and self-distrust. She had brains which could feel and react against the passions she evoked, and were competent to warn her of the peril of her work. But as for Kitty—

Here was Hugh Guinness before her, a Cain with the curse of God upon him. It was clearly her business to bring him back again to his father, and afterward convert him into a member of the church, if possible. She went about the work with as little doubt as if it had been the making of a pudding.

But she was shy, tender, womanly withal. Doctor McCall laughed as he looked down at her, and spoke deliberately, as though giving his opinion of a patient to another physician. "I'll tell you honestly my opinion of Hugh Guinness. He was, first of all, a thoroughly ordinary, commonplace man, with neither great virtues nor great vices, nor force of any kind. If he had had that, he could have recovered himself when he began to fall. But he did not recover himself."

"What drove him down in the first place?"

He hesitated: "I suppose that his home and religion became hateful to him. Boys have unreasonable prejudices at times."

"And then, in despair—"

"Despair? Nonsense! Now don't figure to yourself a romantic Hotspur of a fellow rushing into hell because heaven's gate was shut on him. At nineteen Hugh Guinness drank and fought and gambled, as other ill-managed boys do to work off the rank fever of blood. Unfortunately—" he stopped, and then added in a lower voice, quickly, "he made a mistake while the fever was on him which was irretrievable."

"A mistake?" Kitty was always of an inquiring turn of mind, but now she felt as if her curiosity was more than she could bear, while she stood, her eyes passing over the burly figure in summer clothes and the high-featured, pleasant face with its close-cut moustache. What dreadful secret was hid behind this good-humored, every-day propriety of linen duck, friendly eyes and reddish moustache over a mouth that often smiled? You might meet their like any day upon the streets. Was it a murder? At best some crime, perhaps, which had sent him to the penitentiary. Or—and church [pg 704] taught Kitty shuddered as a vague remembrance of the "unpardonable sin" rose before her like an actual horror. Whatever it was, it stood between herself and him, keeping them apart for ever.

"Irretrievable?" she said. It was only curiosity, she knew, but her voice sounded oddly far off to herself, the room was hazy, her whole body seemed to shrink together.

"What can it matter to you? You belong to another man, Miss Vogdes." She lifted herself erect. Doctor McCall was speaking more loudly than usual and looking keenly into her face.

"I know: I shall be Mr. Muller's wife. Of course, I recollect. But you—this Hugh Guinness is my father's son," stammered Kitty, her face very white. "I had some interest in him."

"Yes, that's true. He is, as you say, in some sort a brother of yours." He took her hand for the first time, looking down at her face with some meaning in his own, inexplicable, very likely, to himself, though the thoughts in Kitty's shallow brain were clear enough to him. "You are tired of standing," seating her gently in Peter's chair. A thick lock of hair had fallen over her face: he put out his hand to remove it, but drew back quickly. "We have talked too long, Miss Vogdes," in a brisk, cheerful tone. "Some other time, perhaps, we can return to this question of Hugh Guinness. That is," with a certain significance of manner, "if it be one in which Mr. Muller wishes you to take an interest." Nodding good-humoredly to her, he buttoned on his oilskin cape and went out into the rain without another word. He pulled off his cap outside to let the rain and wind reach his head, drawing a long breath as if to get rid of some foul air and heat.


Of all that wet August the next morning was the freshest and cheerfulest. Doctor McCall had packed his valise, carried it to the station, and was now walking up the street, his hands clasped behind him and his head down, after the leisurely fashion of Delaware and Jersey farmers. People nodded an approving good-morning to him. Busy Berrytown had passed verdict on him as a man who was idle for a purpose, who permitted his brain to lie fallow, and who "loafed and invited his soul" during these two weeks for the best spiritual hygienic reasons.

"Too much brain-work, my friend Doctor Maria Muller tells me," said the lawyer, De Camp, to a group of men at the station as McCall passed them. "Is here for repose."

"Advanced?" said little Herr Bluhm, the phrenologist.

"Well, no. But Doctor Maria thinks his mind is open to conviction, and that he would prove a strong worker should he remain here. She has already begun to enlighten him on our newest theories as to a Spontaneous Creation and a Consolidated Republic."

"Should think his properer study would be potatoes. Smells of the barn-yard in his talk," rejoined one of the party.

"Doctor Maria's a fool!" snapped Bluhm. "She has read the index to Bastian's book, and denies her Creator, and gabbles of Bacteria, boiled and unboiled, ever since."

Doctor McCall meanwhile went down the cinder-path, to all passers-by a clean-shaven, healthy gentleman out in search of an appetite for breakfast. But in reality he was deciding his whole life in that brief walk. Why, he asked himself once or twice, should he be unlike the other clean-shaven, healthy men that he met? God knows he had no relish for mystery. He was, as he had told Kitty, a commonplace man, a thrifty Delaware farmer, in hearty good-fellowship with his neighbors, his cattle, the ground he tilled, and, he thought reverently, with the God who had made him and them. He had made a mistake in his early youth, but it was a mistake which every tenth man makes—which had no doubt driven half these men and women about him into their visionary [pg 705] creeds and hard work—that of an unhappy marriage. It was many years since he had heard of his wife: she had grown tired of warning him of the new paths of shame and crime she had found for herself. In fact, the year in which they had lived together was now so long past as to seem like a miserable half-forgotten dream.

Irretrievable? Yes, it was irretrievable. There was, first of all, the stupid, boyish error of a change of name. If he came back as this child wished, all the annoyance which that entailed would follow him, and the humiliating circumstances which had led to it would be brought to life from their unclean graves. His father believed him dead. Better the quiet, softened grief which that had left than the disgrace which would follow his return. "I should have to tell him my wife's story," muttered McCall. But he did not turn pale nor break into a cold sweat at the remembrance, as Miss Muller's hero should have done. This was an old sore—serious enough, but one which he meant to make the best of, according to his habit. He had been a fool, he thought, to come back and hang about the old place for the pleasure of hearing his father talked of, and of touching the things he had handled a day or two before. Growing into middle age, Hugh Guinness's likeness to his father had increased year by year. The two men were simple as boys in some respects, and would have been satisfied alone together. The younger man halted now on the foot-bridge which crossed the creek, looking out the different hollows where his father had taken him to fish when he was a boy, and thinking of their life then. "But his wife and mine would have to be put into the scales now," with an attempt at whistling which died out discordantly.

There was one person to whom the shameful confession of his marriage must be made—Miss Muller. That was the result, he thought, of his absurd whim of loitering about Berry town. When he had met Maria Muller before, he had no reason to think she cared a doit whether he was married or single. Now—McCall's color changed, alone as he was, with shame and annoyance. With all his experience of life and of women, he had as little self-confidence as an awkward girl. But Maria had left him no room for doubt.

"It would be the right thing to do. I ought to tell her. But it will be a slight matter to her, no doubt."

If he had been a single man, in all probability he would have asked Maria Muller to marry him that day. He was a susceptible fellow, with a man's ordinary vanity and passions; and Maria's bright sweet face, their loiterings along shady lanes and under Bourbon roses, the perpetual deference she paid to his stupendous intellect, had had due effect. He was not the man to see a strong, beautiful woman turn pale and tremble at his touch, and preserve his phlegm.

He threw away his cigar, and jumped the fence into the Water-cure grounds. "I'll tell her now, and then be off from old Berry town for ever."

Miss Muller was standing in the porch. She leaned over the railing, looking at the ragged rain-clouds driven swiftly over the blue distance, and at the wet cornfields and clumps of bay bushes gray with berries which filled the damp air with their pungent smell. Her dog, a little black-and-tan terrier, bit at her skirt. She had just been lecturing to her three students on the vertebrae, and when she took him up could not help fumbling over his bones, even while she perceived the color and scent of the morning. They gave her so keen a pleasure that the tears rushed to her eyes, and she stopped punching Hero's back.

"'The rain is over and gone,'" she recited softly to herself, "'the vines with the tender grape give a good smell, and the time of the singing of birds has come.' There is no poetry like that old Hebrew love-song. If only it had not been hackneyed by being turned into a theological allegory! Ha, doggy, doggy! There comes a friend of ours!" suddenly laughing and hugging him as she caught sight of a large man coming [pg 706] up the road with a swinging gait and loose white overcoat. She broke off a rose and put it in her breast, tied on her hat and hurried down to meet him, the Song of Solomon still keeping time with her thoughts in a lofty cadence: "'Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness leaning upon his beloved? Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm. For love is strong as death.'"

"What's that, Maria? I heard you intoning as I came up the hill?" Her eyes were soft and luminous and her voice unsteady. I am afraid Doctor McCall's eyes were warmer in their admiration than they should have been under the circumstances. Why should she not tell him? She repeated it. She had been chattering for two hours on cervical, dorsal and lumbar vertebrae, without stopping to take breath. But she grew red now and broke down miserably.

"'Love is strong as death,' eh?" said McCall, awkwardly holding the gate open for her. "Friendship ought to be tough enough to bear a pretty stout strain, then. Such friendship as ours, I mean. For I think a man and woman can be friends without—without—Well, what do you think, Maria?" feeling a sudden imbecility in all his big body.

The little woman beside him looked up scared and ready to cry: "I don't know, John, I'm sure. Do be quiet, Hero!" Then like a flash she saw that he meant to ask her to marry him: he meant to place love upon the higher basis of friendship. Maria was used to people who found new names for old things. Why! why! what folly was this, as she grew cold and hot by turns? So often she had pictured his coming to claim her, and how she would go out as one calm controlling soul should to meet another, to be dual yet united through all eternity; and here she was shivering and tongue-tied, like any silly school-girl! Love-making and marriage were at a discount with the Advanced Club of which she was a member, and classed with dancing, fashionable dressing and other such paltry feminine frivolities. But Maria had meant to show them that a woman could really love and marry, and preserve her own dignity. She tried to find her footing now.

"Come into the summer-house, John. I should think our friendship would bear any strain, for it does not depend on external ties."

"No, that's true. Now, as to your phalansteries and women's clubs and sitz-baths, why that's all flummery to me. But young women must have their whims until they have husbands to occupy their minds, I suppose. There's that little girl at the Book-shop: how many leagues of tatting do you suppose she makes in a year?"

"I really cannot say," sharply.

"But as to our friendship, Maria—"

"Yes. There may be a lack of external bonds" (speaking deliberately, for she wanted to remember this crisis of her life as accurate in all its minutiae); "but there is a primal unity, a mysterious sympathy, in power and emotion. At least, so it seems to me," suddenly stammering and picking up Hero to avoid looking at McCall, who stood in front of her.

"I don't know. Primal unities are rather hazy to me. I can tell by a woman's eye and hand-shake if she is pure-minded and sweet-tempered, and pretty well, too, what she thinks of me. That's about as far as I go."

"It pleases you to wear this mask of dullness, I know," with an indulgent smile, with which Titania might have fondled the ass's head.

"But as to our friendship," gravely, "I feel I've hardly been fair to you. Friendship demands candor, and there is one matter on which I have not dealt plainly with you. You have been an honest, firm friend to me, Maria. I had no right to withhold my confidence from you."

If Miss Muller had not been known as an advanced philosopher, basing her life upon the Central Truths, she would have gained some credit as a shrewd woman of business. "What do you mean, John?" she said, turning a cool I steady countenance toward him.

[pg 707]

"Sit down and I will tell you what I mean."

The patients, taking soon after their two hours' exercise, made their jokes on the battle between the two systems, seeing the allopathist McCall and Doctor Maria Haynes Muller in the summer-house engaged in such long and earnest converse. Homoeopathy, they guessed, had the worst of it, for the lady was visibly agitated and McCall apparently unmoved. Indeed, when he left her and crossed the garden, nodding to such of them as he knew, he had a satisfied, relieved face.

Maria went immediately in to visit her ward as usual. The patients observed that she was milder than was her wont, and deadly pale. One of them, addressing her as "Miss Muller," however, was sharply rebuked: "I earned my right to the title of physician too hardly to give it up for that which belongs to every simpering school-girl," she said. "Besides," with a queer pitiful smile, "the sooner we doctors sink the fact that we are women the better for the cause—and for us."

She met her brother in the course of the morning, and drew him into the consulting-room.

"William," she said, fumbling with the buttons of his coat, "he is going: he is going to take the afternoon train."

"Who? That fellow McCall?"

"Why do you speak so of him, William? He has just told me his story. He is so wretched! he has been used so hardly!" She could scarcely keep back the tears. In her new weakness and weariness it was such comfort to talk to and hang upon this fat, stupid little brother, whom usually she despised.

"Wretched, eh? He don't look it, then. As stout and easy-going a fellow as I know. Come, come, Maria! The man has been imposing some story on you to work on your sensibilities. I never fancied him, as you know. He doesn't want to borrow money, eh?" with sudden alarm.

"Money? No."

"What is it, then? Don't look at me in that dazed way. You, are going to have one of your attacks. I do wish you had Kitty's constitution and some sense."

"William," rousing herself, "he is going. He will never come back to Berrytown or to me. Our whole lives depend on my seeing him once more. Ask him to wait for a day—an hour."

"If he doesn't take the noon express, he can't go in an hour. You certainly know that, Maria. Well, if I have to find him, I'd better go at once," buttoning his coat irritably. "I never did like the fellow."

"Beg him to stay. Tell him that I have thought of a way of escape," following him, catching him by his sleeve, her small face absolutely without color and her eyes glittering.

"Yes, I'm going. But I must find my overshoes first. It begins to look like rain."

Miss Muller watched him to the door, and then crossed the hall to her own room, locking the door behind her. The square table was piled with medical books. She sat down and dropped her head on her arms. Over went a bound volume of the Lancet and a folio on diseases of the kidneys to the floor. She looked down at them. "And I was willing to give him up for that—that trash!" sobbing and rubbing her arms like a beaten child. But she had so strong a habit of talking that even in this pain the words would come: "I loved him so. He would have married me! And I must be kept from him by a law of society! It is—it is," rising and wrenching her hands together, "a damnable law!"

For Miss Muller had taught herself to think and talk like a man.



[pg 708]


A party of four Americans in London—Mr. Hill Bunker of Boston, Mrs. Bunker, his wife, Miss Amy Abell of New York, and myself—we find ourselves growing weary of that noisy town. We talk of a trip to the country. It is the merry month of May.

"Just the time for 'bowery England, as Bulwer phrases it," says Amy. "Let us go to Romsey and see the Boyces."

Carried unanimously. We take the train from the Waterloo Station two hours later. When we get down at Romsey, "Fly, sir?" asks the attentive porter—carries our luggage, calls the fly and touches his hat thankfully for three-pence. The Romsey fly is a lumbering, two-seated carriage, rather more pretentious than a London cab, but far behind the glossy gorgeousness of a New York hackney-coach.

A short drive brings us to the White Horse Inn, under whose covered arch we roll, and are met at the door by a maid. She conducts us to a stuffy coffee-room up a flight of crumbling old stairs, and meekly desires to know our will.

"Send the landlord, please."

The landlord comes, bowing low, and we make inquiries concerning the distance to Paultons, the estate where the Boyces have been spending the summer, and where we venture to hope they still are. He says it is a matter of four miles, and that we can have a fly over for six shillings. We order the fly to be got ready at once, and inquire if we can have dinner now, it being late in the afternoon.

"Yes, sir," he replies. "Would you like some chicken and sparrowgrass?"

"How long will they be in cooking?"

"Matter of arf an hour, sir."

As this means a matter of an hour, I ask if he can't get us up something in a shorter time. He suggests that chops can be cooked sooner.

"Chops be it, then. In the words of the immortal Pickwick, chops and tomato sauce."

"No tomarter sauce, sir," with profound gravity.

"Sparrowgrass, then—chops and sparrowgrass."

He retires, and we all rush to the windows and look out upon the quaint old village—a curious, old-fashioned scene. We feel as if we had somehow become transmogrified, and instead of being flesh-and-blood men and women from practical New York, were playing our parts in some old English novel. Odd little tumble-down houses, with peaked roofs and mullioned windows, ranged about a triangular common, look sleepily out upon a statue of Palmerston in the middle of the open place, the gray walls of Romsey Abbey, a thousand years old, against the blue sky behind them.

About six o'clock our fly is at the door, and we are off, rattling through the ancient streets into the smooth open country. Oh the quaint, delightful old hedge-lined road, deep down below the level of the fields on either side—a green lane shut in with fragrance and delicious quiet! The hedges, perched upon the bank, tower high above our heads, and there is no break in them save at rustic gates. We meet characters on the road who have just stepped out of Trollope's novels. A young man and girl stand on a bridge across which we trundle, leaning companionably on the old stone parapet, and looking up the little river through a long avenue of trees to the pillared mansion of "Broadlands." A laborer, with a gay flower stuck in the buttonhole of his smock-frock, goes whistling along the brown road under the hedgerows. A country gentleman, driving alone in a basket phaeton, looks inquisitively at our half-closed windows as if expecting the sight of an acquaintance. Crumbling milestones stand by the wayside, with deep-cut letters so [pg 709] smoothed by the hand of time that we cannot read them as we pass. Flowers grow thick in the hedgerows. A boy is lolling on the green grass in front of a cottage door—an uncombed English hind, with a face of rustic simplicity and stolid ignorance.

At last we come to a gate which bars the road. The driver gets down and opens it, and when we have passed through in the fly he tells us we are now on Mr. Stanley's broad estate of Paultons. The driver wears corduroy trousers, and touches his hat every time we speak to him and every time he answers. He does not merely touch it when he is first addressed, but he touches it continually throughout the conversation. Bunker considers his conduct extremely touching.

We are presently driving through a bosky wood, and the driver touches his hat to remark that we are nearly there now, he thinks.

"But where is the bad road the landlord spoke of?"

"Bad road, sir?" touching hat.

"Yes: the landlord said we could not drive fast because the road was bad. Where is it bad?"

"All along back of 'ere, sir," touching hat. "We have pahst the worst of it naow, sir: the rest is not so 'illy, sir," touching hat.

"Hilly? We haven't passed over anything bigger than a knoll. If this is what the landlord meant by a hilly road, it is a rich joke. Why, it's as smooth as a floor, almost."

"He should go to California," says Amy, who has feeling reminiscences. "He should go to the Yosemite Valley, over the road which runs through Chinese Camp and Hodgden's. Probably the man never saw a rough road in his life. I doubt if there is such a thing in England."

After half an hour's trundling along the unfenced roads of this fine old estate, crossing ancient stone bridges, rolling through leafy groves, startling fat cattle from their browsing, getting a hat-touch from a shepherd who is leading his flocks across the fields in true pastoral style, we reach the manor-house, standing stately amid dells and dingles, pollards of fantastic growth and patches of fern and gorse. The Boyces have returned to Paris, but nurse and the children are still at the gardener's house, and thither we drive along the banks of a sylvan lake, beyond which the rooks are cawing about the chimneys.

The old gardener is nurse's father, and though he is now so old that he no longer does any work, he is maintained in comfort by the family in whose service he has spent a lifetime. Forty years of honest service in one family! No wonder he feels that his destiny is for ever linked with that of the people who have been his masters, man and boy, for forty years. He has a delightful little cottage with thatched roof and mullioned windows, and pretty vines rioting all over it, and in front of it a flower-garden full of early bloom. The lilacs which grow about so profusely are not of the color of our lilacs in America, being of a rich purple; we should not know they were lilacs but for the familiar odor.

A delicious ride back to Romsey in the twilight, carrying two of the Boyce children with us. In the evening I stroll out alone, to look at the village in the moonlight. The streets are like narrow lanes. The houses are very old, and for the most part dilapidated, but streets and houses are all as clean and neat as wax. Presently I come upon the old abbey, its rugged walls and towers looming solemnly in the moonlight, and pass the parson's house near by, all overrun with vines, thinking of Trollope again and Framley parsonage.

Before going back to the White Horse Inn I wander round the village until I find that I am lost. The discovery is not very alarming in a place so small as this, even at night. I resolve to turn every corner to the left, and see what will come of it. I presently find that getting out into the country comes of it; and having crossed a bridge and come upon a silent brickyard, and seen the long road winding away into the open country, I am reminded of Oliver Twist—or [pg 710] was it Pip?—running away from home and trudging off under the stars to London. Somehow, it seems this road must lead to London.

Turning about, but still walking at random and turning left-hand corners, I presently see the abbey tower again, and make for it. The street through which I pass is apparently the home of the British working man. A light burning in any house is most rare. Occasionally a man can be seen through the odd little windows, smoking a pipe by the blaze of the fire on the hearth. Here are the abbey windows, and now I know where I am. Down this narrow, winding street, across the open place where Lord Palmerston stands stonily in the moonlight, and I am at the White Horse Inn again.

At nine o'clock next morning there is a rap at the door of my room. The door being opened a man-servant is discovered, who touches his forehead (having no hat to touch) and says, "The ladies would like to 'ave you breakfast with them, sir."

He is so very respectful in his manner of saying this that he is inaudible, and being asked what he said, repeats the touching his forehead and then repeats his words.

There are no muffins at breakfast—a fact which I record merely because this is the first time since we have been in England that this peculiarly English dish has been omitted at breakfast. It appears on inquiry that muffins are a luxury of large towns. In villages they are rarely obtainable at less than about a week's notice. In fact, you can't get anything to eat, of any sort, without pretty liberal notice.

After breakfast we go to see the old abbey. It is an imposing and well-preserved pile. It was founded by Ethelwold, a thane—one of those righting, praying, thieving old rascals who lived in the tenth century, and made things lively for any one who went past their houses with money on his person. When Ethelwold had stolen an unusually large sum one day, he founded the monastery and stocked it with nuns. It was but a wooden shanty at first, but after having served till it was worm-eaten and rotting with age, it was torn down and a fine stone convent was built.

We walk about in that part of the abbey which is free from pews—by far the larger part—and stare at the monumental stones let into the floor and walls. If we did not know that Romsey had been the home of Palmerston, we should learn it now, for these stones are thickly covered with the legends of virtue in his family—wives, sisters, sons and so forth, whose remains lie "in the vault beneath." After perusing these numerous testimonials to the truly wonderful virtues of an aristocracy whom we are permitted to survive, and after dropping some shillings in the charity-box, which rather startle us by the noise they make, we pass out of the cool abbey into the hot churchyard, and read on a lonely stone which stands in a corner by the gate that here lies the dust of Mary Ann Brown, "for thirty-five years faithful servant to Mr. Appleford." Mary Ann no doubt had other virtues, but they are not recorded: this is sufficient for a servant.

An hour's ride on the velvet cushions of a railway carriage brings us, with our Paultons friends, the Boyce boys, to Southampton, which was an old town when King Canute was young. We take rooms at a pretentious marble hotel with a mansard roof, attached to the station—a railroad hotel, in fact, but strikingly unlike that institution as we know it in America. Wide halls, solid stone staircases, gorgeous coffee-room, black-coated waiters, and the inevitable buxom landlady with a regiment of blooming daughters for assistants—one presiding over the accounts, another officiating at the beer-pumps, a third to answer questions, and all very much under the influence of their back hair and other charms of person. One of them alleviates the monotony of the office duties by working at embroidery in bright worsteds.

Strolling out, Bunker and I consult certain shabby worthies who are yawning on the boxes of a long line of wretched hacks drawn up by the sidewalk [pg 711] across the street, and find that we can charter a vehicle for two shillings an hour. These cabbies have more nearly the air of our own noble hackmen than any we have seen in England. Americans are no novelty to them, for ship-loads of American tourists are put off here at frequent intervals, and the cabbies have a thin imitation of the voting hackman's independence. They stop short, however, of his impudence. They are lazy, but they touch their hats occasionally.

We choose two of the tumble-down vehicles and go after the ladies. My driver is an elderly man with a hat which has seen better days, and I have chosen his hack, not because it is less likely to drop off its wheels than the others, but because he himself looks like a seedy Bohemian. He proves to be a very intelligent fellow, with a ready turn for description which serves him in good stead whenever his horse gets tired of walking and stops short. At such times our Bohemian pretends that he has stopped the horse himself in order to point out and comment upon some curious thing in the immediate vicinity.

It is pleasant driving. The hack is open, and we hoist sun-umbrellas and look about comfortably. Presently the weary horse stops in the middle of the street.

"'Ere you are, sir," says Cabby briskly, turning half round on his box and pointing to an old stone structure which stretches quite across the High street. "This 'ere is the old Bar Gate, sir, one of the hancient gates of the town. Part of the horiginal town wall. Was a large ditch 'ere, sir, and another there, and a stone bridge betwixt the two, and the young bucks in them days did use to practice harchery right 'ere where you see the lamp-post. The Guild'all is hin the gate, sir, right hinside it, with a passage hup. I'll drive through the harch, sir, and you'll see the hother side. Cluck!" (to the horse).

On the other side, the horse not taking a notion to stop again, the driver is not forced to resume his remarks. Turning about as we pass on, we look up at the old Norman gate-tower, with its handsome archway and projecting buttresses, and Amy says she fancies she sees a knight in armor looking out through the narrow crevice which may have been a window in olden times. This, being an altogether proper fancy for the place, is received with applause.

The next time the horse concludes to stop we are in the midst of what is here called the Common—in fact, a magnificent old forest park, with a smooth road running through it, and numberless winding paths in among the bosky depths. I fancy Central Park might come to look like this if allowed to go untrimmed and unfussed-over for two or three hundred years.

"The Common, sir," says Cabby, turning about, "where King Chawles did use to 'unt wild boars. Fav'rite walk of Halexander Pope, sir, the poet, and Doctor Watts, which wrote the 'ymn-book. Cluck!"

From the top of a high hill a splendid wide landscape is seen, with Romsey in the distance, and (the horse having stopped again) Cabby points out Queen Elizabeth's shooting-box across the fields. In a lot close by cricketers are at play, and a little farther on, where there is a vine-covered beerhouse, a crowd of clod-hoppers are gathered in a green field, looking at two of their number engaged in a rough-and-tumble fight in their shirt-sleeves.

The road after this running down hill, the horse continues to jog along for a considerable distance, stopping at last under a towering old wall looking out on the sea.

"Wind Whistle Tower, sir," says Cabby, pointing up at a square tower projecting from the old wall overhead, and above it the remains of an old round tower thickly overrun with ivy. And, using his fingers industriously, Cabby proceeds to call off the names of various castles and towers here visible—notably, Prince Edward's Tower, bold and round, from whose summit three men were looking down.

"What are those?" asks Bunker in the carriage behind us, pointing to the [pg 712] old brass guns which sit on the wall like Humpty Dumpty.

"Them, sir," says Cabby, "was put there by 'Enry the Heighth, and this 'ere wall was the purtection of the town when the Frenchmen hassaulted it."

"Ho!" says Bunker, contemptuously. "Just fancy one of our ironclads paying any attention to the barking of those popguns!"

Whereupon the horse starts again, and we go lazily on, Cabby dropping in a word of enlightenment here and there to the effect that this old tumble-down part of the ancient wall is the celebrated Arcade, which formed part of the wall of the King's Palace; and this queer old lane running up through the walls like a sewer is Cuckoo lane; and that is Bugle street, where in olden times the warden blew; and here are the remains of Canute's palace, with its elliptical and circular arches and curious mouldings.

Discharging the cab in the High street, we walk about. In a shop where we pause for a moment there is a quartette of half-naked barbarians, such as, with all our boasted varieties of humanity, were never yet seen in New York. We have abundant Chinese and Japanese there, and occasionally an Arab or a Turk, and the word African means with us a man and a brother behind our chair at dinner or wielding a razor in a barber-shop. These men here are pure barbarians, just landed from a vessel direct from Africa. Hideously tattooed, and their heads shaved in regular ridges of black wool, with narrow patches of black scalp between, they are here in a small tradesman's shop in bowery England buying shirts. They know not a word of English, but chatter among themselves the most horrible lingo known to the Hamitic group of tongues. They grimace in a frightful manner, and skip and dance, and writhe their half-naked bodies into the most exaggerated contortions known to the language of signs. The dignified English salesmen are at their wits' end how to treat them. The instinct of the British shopkeeper fights desperately with his disposition to be shocked. From the Ashantee gentlemen's gestures it can only be concluded that white shirts are wanted, but when white shirts are shown the negroes make furious objection to the plaited bosoms. They want shirts such as are fashionable at home. It is easy to be seen that they are Dandy Jims in Africa. They are all young, and, in a sense, spruce. One of them carries a little switch cane, evidently just bought: while he examines the shirts, testing the strength of the stuff by pulling it with his two hands, he holds his cane between his bare legs for safe-keeping.

Sitting in the billiard-room of the hotel in the evening smoking our cigars, Bunker and I are accosted by a brisk little man, who asks us if we play billiards. Bunker doesn't. I do sometimes at home, but not the English game.

"Oh, we play the 'Merican game too. 'Appy to play the 'Merican game with you, sir."

"Try him a game," says Bunker. "It won't hurt you."

Not liking to refuse an invitation from a polite Englishman, who appears to be a stranger here, I consent. This is billiard-room etiquette the world over.

The cue is like a whip-stock. It positively runs down to a point not bigger than a shirt-button, and it bends like a switch. The balls are not much larger than marbles. To make up for this, the table is big enough for a back yard, broad, high, dull of cushion, and with six huge pockets. I am ignominiously beaten. My ball jumps like a living thing. It hops off the table upon the floor at almost every shot, and when it does not go on the floor it goes into one of the six yawning pockets. The pockets bear the same relative proportion to the balls that a tea-cup bears to a French pea. At the end of the game my ball has been everywhere except where I intended it to go, and I have "scratched" thirty.

"A hundred's the game," says the Englishman, putting up his cue. "One shilling."

I wonder if this is an English custom—to pay your victor a shilling, instead of paying the keeper of the tables. But [pg 713] as there is no one else to pay, I pay the Englishman. Bunker has fallen asleep in his chair.

"Going on the Continent?" the Englishman asks.

"Not at present. We return to London first, and go from there."

"'Ave you got a guide?"

I am on the point of saying that guides are a nuisance I do not tolerate, when the Englishman hands me a bit of paste-board. "There is my card, sir," he says. "A. SHARPE, Interpreter and Courier." On the opposite side I read—

French, Französich, Frangais, Francese,
German, Deutsch, Allemand, Tedesco,
Italian and Italienisch u. Italien et Italiano ed
English Englisch Anglais Inglese
fluently. sehr geläufig. courrament. correntemente.

At present he has charge of this billiard-room, but he is ready to follow me to the ends of the earth for a period of not less than three months. I tell him I can get on without a guide.

"But I would go on the most reasonable terms. I would go for as low as ten pounds a month and my expenses."

"Would you go for nothing?" Bunker wakes up and pops this out at him so suddenly as to quite take his breath away.

He expands his hands at his trousers pockets, shrugs his shoulders and looks volumes of reproach.

"Because," Bunker adds, in a soothing tone, "I shouldn't like to have you along, even at that price."

He immediately goes to putting the room to rights.

"Horrible breath that man had," says Bunker when we come out: "did you notice it?"


"Take that breath around with us on the Continent! Why, if he was in Cologne itself, his breath would be in the majority."

I had my umbrella in the billiard-room, and next morning I can't find it anywhere. At breakfast I ask the pompous head-waiter if he knows of my umbrella. He states that he does not. After breakfast I look in the billiard-room. It is not there. I go down to the office, and interrupt the worsted work there in progress by requesting that a search be made for my missing umbrella. The young lady whose ear I have gained kindly condescends to call the porter, and turning me over to that functionary returns to her worsted. The porter is respectful, but doubtful. The moment he learns that the lost article is an umbrella his manner is pervaded with a gentle hopelessness. He, however, listens forbearingly to my story.

"And aboot what time was it, sir, when ye went ty bed?"

"About half-past eleven."

"Oh, then the night porter ull know of it, sir. He's abed now. I'll ask him when he gets oop."

And so, when we go to Netley Abbey, I take a covered cab, because of my lost umbrella. It was a beautiful umbrella to keep off the sun. Nobody can make an umbrella like an Englishman. I should be sorry to lose it. I bought it in Regent street only a few days ago, but I already love it with a passionate affection.

Through the hot paved streets, over a floating bridge, past the cliff at the river's mouth, through a shady grove of noble yews and sycamores, past a picturesque hamlet full of vine-curtained and straw-thatched cottages, through a forest of oaks and past a willow copse, and there is the grand old ruin of Netley Abbey lifting its picturesque and solemn fingers of ivy-hung stone above the tops of the trees which surround and shelter it in its hoary age.

It is really curious how dramatically effective a grand old ruin is. The weird sense of being in the presence of olden time comes over us immediately. We look about us to see the spirit of some cloistered monk come stealing by with hood and girdle. Here—actually here, in these nooks all crumbling under Time's gnawing tooth—did old Cistercian monks kneel with shaved heads and confess their sins, and their bones have been powdered into dust three hundred years! Romsey Abbey—within whose well-kept walls we rather yawned over Palmerstonian eulogiums—is a [pg 714] thousand years old. This abbey is only six hundred and thirty-two years old. Romsey has been restored, and modern men go to church there on Sunday decorously. Netley has been left to go to utter ruin. Grass grows in its long-drawn aisles. Owls hoot in its moss-clothed chimneys. It is dramatically effective.

We wander through cloistered courts into the main body of the church. Yonder stood the pulpit, here gathered the worshipers. The carpet is green grass. Trees grow within the walls. Ivy clambers from side to side of the tall windows, in place of the stained glass once there. Most of the windows have tumbled to decay, walls and all. The roof is the sky—naught else.

We climb up the stone staircase in the turret. All the stone steps are worn with deep hollows where human feet have trodden up and down for centuries, and storms have sent rivulets of water pouring through many a wild night. Some of the steps are worn quite in two and broken away, which makes the ascent frightening to the ladies.

Up here ("on the second floor," as Bunker says) the carpet is again grass, and Bunker and I clamber through a little archway into the cloister gallery, where the monks used to look down on the service below when they felt inclined. The ladies look after us, brave adventurers that we are (only two or three million men have been here before us, perhaps, since the ruin became a popular success), and refuse to follow in our rash footsteps. The crumbling wall is full of owls' nests. Rooks and swallows fly continually in and out of their holes. We could kick a loose stone down into the chancel if there were any stones to kick.

The ladies declare themselves dizzy and afraid, and we help them down the dark winding turret staircase again, and go into the enclosed parts of the ruin. Here is where the monks lived. The walls still stand, and parts of the roof. The windows are thickly ivy-hung and moss-grown. Here is the room where the monks did whilom dine. For three hundred years this dining-room was in daily use, and in the spot where erst the dining-table stood now grows a stalwart tree, whose branches tower and spread beyond the crumbling walls. Passing strange!

More strange is the sight in the next room, the chapter-house, where the abbot held his gravest councils, and where the most honored of the monks were buried beneath the floor when they died. And since the roof fell in, after long battling with storms, perhaps a hundred years after the last monk was buried, one day a seed fell. A tree grew up in the room. It spread its tall branches high above the piled-up stones, and shook its brown leaves down, autumn after autumn, for years and years. It grew slowly old, and at last it died. It fell down in its death in the room where it had grown, and its once sturdy trunk struck against the old ruined walls and broke. Its roots were torn out of the ground by the fall, and stuck up their gnarled fingers in the empty room. And the grass grew over the roots, weaving a green cloak to hide their nakedness. The old trunk stretches now across the space in the room, and leans its old head against the abbey wall. I didn't read this story in a guide-book. It was told to me by the principal actor, the tree.

In the abbot's kitchen we get into the huge hooded fireplace—seven of us—and there is room for more. We look up the chimney and see the glossy green ivy leaves overhead, and the blue sky shining beyond them. We toss a pebble down into the subterranean passage where, they say, the monks were wont to pass out after provisions during a time of siege; which must have been somewhat demoralizing to the besiegers, whoever they were. I stoop to pick up something in the grass of the kitchen floor, which has a glitter of gold upon it, and my face flushes with eager anticipation as I seize it.

"What have you found?" asks Amy.

"A relic of the monks?" asks Bunker.

"It's a champagne cork," I am forced to reply. "The truth is, Netley Abbey is a show, like Niagara Falls and Bunker [pg 715] Hill Monument. Of course crowds of tourists come here, and of course they pop champagne and ginger beer, and cut their confounded initials in the venerable stones."

"Yes," says Bunker, "I saw 'W.S.' cut in the wall at the top of the turret stairs. Saves you the trouble, you know."

"I don't do that sort of thing, thank you."

Nevertheless, it was curious to see some nobody's name cut at full length in the stone, with the date underneath—1770.

When we return to the hotel the night porter reports that he has not found my umbrella. So I must go off without it. Our train leaves at ten minutes past five this afternoon, and we shall be in London early in the evening. It is now four o'clock: we have ordered dinner for this hour, and so we sit down to our soup.

"Please give us our dinner without any delay now," I say to the pompous head-waiter, "for we must take the train at ten minutes past five."

The man bows stiffly and retires. We finish the soup, and wait. When we get tired of waiting we call the head-waiter to us: "Are you hastening our dinner?"

"Fish directly, sir," he answers, and walks solemnly away. We begin to grow fidgety. Fifteen minutes since the soup, and no fish yet. Bunker swears he'll blow the head-waiter up in another minute. Just as he is quite ready for this explosion the fish arrives. All hail! I lay it open.

"Why, it's not done!" I cry in consternation. "There, there! Take it away, and bring the meat."

With an air of grave offence the man bears it solemnly out. Then we wait again. And wait. And wait.

"Good gracious!" cries Bunker, "here's half an hour gone, and we've had nothing but soup! I really must blow this fellow up."

"Stop! there it comes."

Enter the waiter with great dignity, and solemnly deposits before us—the fish again!

He has had it recooked. We attack it hurriedly, and bid the waiter for Goodness' sake bring the rest of the dinner instantly, or we must leave it.

"And I'm about half starved," growls Bunker.

More waiting. Five minutes pass. Ten.

"Oh come, I can't stand this!" cries Bunker, jumping up with his napkin round his neck, and striding over to the head-waiter, where he stands in a Turveydroppy attitude, leaning against a sideboard with his arms folded. "Look here!" Bunker ejaculates: "can you be made to understand that we are in a hurry? Would half a dollar be any inducement to you to wake up and look around lively? Because we have got to take those cars in exactly twelve minutes," showing his watch, "and as the dinner is already paid for, I want to get it before I go."

"Certainly, sir," says the pompous ass with slow indifference, "dinner directly. John!" to our waiter, who is now placing the meat on the table, "serve the genl'm'n's dinner directly."

Bunker stares at the fellow as Clown stares at Harlequin after having cut him in two, in dumb amazement at the fact that Harlequin is not in the least disturbed by being cut in two.

"I wonder," he mutters as he returns to the table, "if that unmitigated wooden image of a dunderhead would pay any attention if I were to kick him?"

"No—not if you were to tie a pack of fire-crackers to his coat-tail and light them. He knows his business too well. The first duty of an English head-waiter is to be dignified, as it is that of a French head-waiter to be vigilant and polite."

"Besides," remarks Amy quietly, "I don't suppose the man had an idea of what you meant by 'those cars,' if he even knew what a half dollar signified."

"Well, we must be off. Time's up. We shall miss the train. Good-bye, boys. You can sit still and finish your dinner in peace."

Good-bye to our friends from Paultons—good-bye. And then we rush out, and do miss the train. It is five o'clock ten minutes and a quarter.

[pg 716]

English trains go on time—English dinners don't.

We finally get off at seven o'clock. Just before we leave a waiter comes up to me and says in a casual manner, "Found your humbreller yet, sir?"


"Wat kind of er humbreller was it, sir?"

"Neat little brown silk umbrella, with an ivory handle."

"W'y, I wouldn't wonder if that was your humbreller in the corner now in the reading-room, sir."

I make haste to look. Yes, there it is, my beloved, long-lost umbrella, quietly leaning against the wall in a dark corner, behind a pillar, behind a big arm-chair, where nobody ever placed it, I'll take my oath, but this rascally waiter, who expects to get a shilling for showing where he hid it.

"Is that your humbreller, sir?" the waiter says, rubbing his hands and getting in my way as I walk briskly out, at peril of being stumbled over by my hurrying feet. I scorn to reply, but I give him a glance of such withering contempt that I trust it pierced to his wicked heart, and will remain there, a punishment and a warning, to the last day of his base life. An English waiter's hide is very thick, however. He has probably hidden many a gentleman's umbrella since.

At eleven o'clock we are back in our cozy London lodgings, and at twelve we are sleeping the sleep of profound fatigue, and dreaming of ghostly monks wandering among the weird old ruins of Netley.



Here, in the heart of the hills, I lie,

Nothing but me 'twixt earth and sky—

An amethyst and an emerald stone

Hung and hollowed for me alone!

Is it a dream, or can it be

That there is life apart from me?—

A larger world than the circling bound

Of light and color that lap me round?

Drowsily, dully, through my brain,

Like some recurrent, vague refrain,

A world of fancy comes and goes—

Shadowy pleasures, shadowy woes.

Spectral toils and troubles seem

Fashioned out of this foolish dream:

Round my charmèd quiet creep

Phantom creatures that laugh and weep.

Nay, I know they are meaningless,

Visions of utter idleness:

Nothing was, nor ever will be,

Save the hills and the heavens and me.


[pg 717]



There is no doubt that had Mr. Gladstone followed his personal inclinations when his Irish education scheme broke down last March, he would have retired from office. He is now sixty-four, and it may be fairly questioned whether there exists a man who for forty-six years has worked his brain harder. It is no light labor to read for the highest honors in even one school at Oxford, and Mr. Gladstone read for them in two. He gained "a double first," which meant at that time a first class both in classics and mathematics. Forthwith he plunged into political essay-writing, until in 1834 he further added to his labors by entering the House of Commons as M.P. for Newark.

Mr. Gladstone's father was, as most people are aware, a Liverpool merchant of Scotch descent. This gentleman was the architect of his own fortunes, which arose in no slight degree out of his connection with the United States. Having been sent to this country by a firm largely interested in the corn trade, he discharged their business to their entire satisfaction, whilst at the same time he made very valuable business connections on his own account, which materially served him when at a later period he himself embarked in business. He made a large fortune, but it did not appear at his death to be so great as it was, because he gave his younger sons the bulk of their portions during his lifetime—to avoid legacy duty, people said. To his eldest son he left considerable estates in Scotland—to the younger sons, about one hundred thousand pounds apiece. The eldest, Sir Thomas Gladstone, is a very worthy man, but nowise remarkable for ability. He has one son, and has had six daughters. Four survive, and all are unmarried.

The next brother, Robertson, an eccentric person whose indiscreet speeches must often have made his statesman brother feel very hot, continues the paternal business at Liverpool. The third, John Neilson, was, socially speaking, the flower of the flock. He was a captain in the navy, from which he had retired many years prior to his death in 1863, and a member of Parliament. By his wife, a singularly excellent and charming woman, he had several children, who may be said to pretty nearly monopolize the feminine charms of the Gladstone family. One of these married the earl of Belmore, an Irish nobleman, who lately returned from a not very successful gubernatorial career in New South Wales. Both Sir Thomas and Captain Gladstone were decided Conservatives.

William Ewart is the fourth brother. "That young brother of mine will make a noise in the world some of these days," said Captain Gladstone to a fellow-middy as his brother turned away from bidding him good-bye just before he was about to start on a cruise; and the words were certainly prophetic. Mr. Gladstone married when he was thirty. His wife was one of the two sisters of Sir Stephen Glynne. The English aristocracy contains a great many sets, and the Glynnes were in the intellectual set, comprising such men as the dukes of Argyll and Devonshire, and Lords Derby, Stanhope and Lyttelton. Mrs. Gladstone and her sister were married on the same day to two of the finest intellects of their time. The younger, whose mental gifts were far superior to those of her sister, married Lord Lyttelton.

Mr. Gladstone has a large family. The eldest son has for some time been in Parliament, but has established no reputation for notable capacity, and it is said that, with the exception of one of his younger brothers, none of the family are remarkable in this respect. Mrs. Gladstone is a person of great kindness of heart and untiring benevolence. She [pg 718] is full of schemes for doing good: hospitals, convalescent institutions, etc. find in her an ever-ready friend, to the neglect, it is whispered, of her domestic duties. There is an amusing story told of how some time ago a few guests arrived at her house in response to an invitation to dinner. They waited in vain for the rest of the party, for whose delay their hostess was at a loss to account. At length she turned aside and opened her blotting-book, which quickly revealed the cause of the guests' non-appearance—the invitations were lying there. They had been written, but never sent.

In London the prime minister—who has an indifferent official residence, which he and his family have occasionally occupied, in Downing street—lives in Carlton-House Terrace. It is a beautiful house, but not by any means well adapted for party-giving, for it is so constructed that circulation is almost impossible. If you once get into a room, you must stay there; whereas half the charm of Lady Palmerston's famous parties at Cambridge House was the free circulation the rooms afforded, enabling you to pass right round a quadrangle, and thus easily find an acquaintance or get away from a bore. Mr. Gladstone's house has a fine double staircase, and it will derive interest in after days from the circumstance that, standing at the head, Lord Russell took leave of the party he had led, and pointed to his then host as his successor.

Carlton-House Terrace is in many respects the most delightful situation in London, for, whilst extremely central, it is very quiet. It stands between Pall Mall and St. James's Park. One side faces a strip of beautifully kept garden, which lies between the terrace and the row of palaces formed by the Senior United Service, Athenaeum, Travelers' and Carlton Clubs. The other side has a charming prospect over St. James's Park. In summer this is really lovely, for all ugly objects are obscured by the foliage, amid which glimpses are obtained of the pinnacles and fretted towers of the palace of Parliament on the one hand, and those of its venerable neighbor, the majestic abbey, on the other. It was here that Bunsen passed his London days, and the reader of his memoirs will remember frequent references to the charms of his house. It may well be imagined how great a boon it is to the toil-worn minister to find himself, as it were, in a garden, with only the distant roar, like that of the sea, to remind him as he sits in his study that five minutes walk across that pleasant park will bring him to Downing street, and three more to the Treasury bench in the House of Commons.

In the country most of his time is spent at Hawarden Castle in Flintshire, about six hours from London. This is the ancestral seat of Mrs. Gladstone's brother, Sir Stephen Glynne, lord lieutenant of the county, whose family have held this property for centuries. Sir Stephen is a very shy man of retired habits. By a family arrangement his house is the country abode of his sister and brother-in-law.

In earlier life, Sir Stephen and his two brothers-in-law, Mr. Gladstone and Lord Lyttelton, formed an unfortunately favorable estimate of certain mines, into which much of the fortune of Sir Stephen and his sisters went, and from which it never came out again. There was one other brother, the late rector of Hawarden. He died about a year ago, and Mr. Gladstone's second son, Stephen, was appointed his successor. The living, in the gift of Sir Stephen, is very valuable. Mr. Glynne, the clergyman, died without a son, and the title will therefore on Sir Stephen's death be extinct. As matters now stand, it may be presumed that Mr. W.H. Gladstone, the prime minister's eldest son, will succeed to the Hawarden estates.

Mr. Gladstone has himself recently increased the family interest around Hawarden by purchase. About five years ago the state of his finances were the talk of the town, and a number of people, especially of the Conservative party, avowed themselves in a position to assert from personal knowledge that he was ruined. There was no just ground for such a statement, and like so many other [pg 719] absurd rumors it died out. None of Mr. Gladstone's daughters are married, nor is his eldest son.


Certain great festivals of the Christian Church which were ignored by the Puritans and Quakers have always continued in high repute among the Pennsylvania Germans. Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide and Ascension Day are celebrated not only in the Lutheran, the Reformed or Calvinistic and the Moravian churches, but among the descendants of those Swiss Anabaptists who, being driven from their homes by religious persecution, finally took shelter in that part of the land of Penn now called Lancaster county, these quiet sectarians being known among us by the names of Mennists and Amish (pronounced Menneests and Ommish).

The movable feast of Whitsunday or Pentecost, which occurs on the seventh Sunday after Easter, is a solemn occasion in the Mennonite meetings, for at this time is held one of the great semi-annual observances of bread-breaking and feet-washing. The ensuing day, Whitmonday, is a great secular festival. All the spring bonnets are then in readiness for the "Dutch" girls. The young farmer of eighteen or more, whose father has granted his heart's desire in the form of a buggy, or who has otherwise attained to that summit of rural felicity, harnesses and attaches to it one of the horses with which the farm is so well supplied, and takes his girl into the county-town. Here they walk the streets, partake of simple refreshments, meet their acquaintances or talk with them in the tavern parlor. Sometimes they visit a circus or menagerie whose managers have made a timely visit to our inland city.

On the ensuing day, Tuesday, while the Dutch boys are working the corn, you may perchance hear their father's voice raised to a higher pitch than usual, which circumstance he explains when he comes in sight, thus: "The boys is sleepy to-day. Yesterday was Whissuntide, you know. They got home late." For custom forbids their leaving the girl of their choice before the small hours, and allows them, nevertheless, no remission from labor on the succeeding day.

The people, however, whose religious services I am about to describe impose upon their members a stricter rule of earlier hours, etc. They are called New (or Reformed) Mennists.

It was on Whitsunday, May 31, 1868, that I paid a visit to one of our New Mennist meeting-houses, and found before nine o'clock in the morning that the services had already begun. The first apartment we entered was a sort of tiring-room, where along the walls hung the shawls and black sun-bonnets of the sisters. Here were also traveling-bags, and a cradle stood ready to receive one or more of the babies that were in attendance. In the adjoining room were heard the familiar notes of "Old Hundred," and "Du bist der Weg" was sung pleasantly without any instrumental accompaniment.

When we entered the whitewashed apartment in which the meeting had assembled I saw upon a small platform at the farther end five men, who were apparently preachers or elders. At the same end of the room were seated the soberly clad members of the sect—the men on one side of the apartment, with their broad-brimmed hats removed; on the other side the sisters, with their extremely plain book-muslin caps and otherwise sober attire.

A portion of the services was in English. Dr. ——, a practitioner of medicine and a bishop in this Church, spoke extemporaneously in our language. He gave a long account of the ordinances of the Jewish Church, and then of those which the "Lord Jesus instituted in the place of these—the baptism that was celebrated a week ago, and this Lord's Supper, this feet-washing, this kiss of peace, this manner of visiting offenders;" the last phrase being an allusion to the severe rule which forbids the New or Reformed Mennists to eat, etc. with those excommunicated by the society.

The Mennists, as I understand, hold in general those doctrines that are [pg 720] considered evangelical. The services were much prolonged, and the congregation became restless. But at length, while a younger brother was speaking in "Dutch" or German, there came in another bearing a parcel wrapped in a white cloth. He was followed by one carrying something tied in a blue-and-white cloth, which being opened disclosed a demijohn. The white parcel was received by the preacher upon the desk, and when opened showed a great loaf of our beautiful Lancaster county bread divided into slices. After prayer several preachers took slices, and passing around among the congregation broke off bits which they gave to the communicants. The wine in the demijohn was then poured into small, bright tin cups, like milkmen's measures, and was distributed among the members. A hymn in the German language was sung, two lines at a time, while the wine was handed round.

After these services were concluded feet-washing began by reading the passage from the 13th chapter of John on the subject, and this was followed by many remarks. I observed that one elderly brother, speaking in a mournful tone and in our Dutch manner, quoted, "Nimmermehr soll du mein Fees wasche" ("Thou shalt never wash my feet"). These discourses were followed by the announcement, "Next Sunday there will be bread-breaking at Landisville."

Now arose a confusion from carrying out benches, from arranging others in two long rows facing each other, etc. The two principal preachers were seen disencumbered of their coats, much animated conversation began, and feet-washing did not seem to be observed with so much seriousness as the Supper. I took a seat near the end of two long benches which were arranged to face each other, and on which sat some of the brethren whose feet were to be washed by one of the preachers. Common unpainted tubs containing water were brought in by two men. Dr. ——, the bishop already mentioned, had a great piece of white linen tied around his waist. He passed along between the two rows of men as they sat facing each other, bearing his tub alternately from a brother in one row to one in the other, so that both rows were finished at about the same time. Quietly the men took off their shoes and stockings. They did not put their feet forward much. As Dr. —— came to each participant he set his tub down before him, washed his feet a little, wiped them on the long white apron or towel, then shook hands with him and kissed him. He thus ministered to thirty persons, a somewhat laborious undertaking, but his powerful frame was suited to the exertion. The same water and the same towel served for all.

Meantime, the sisters, in another part of the room, were arranged in smaller companies on benches placed in a similar manner. I said to a sister, "Do the preachers wash the sisters' feet?"

"Oh no," she answered: "the sisters does it."

Some of the sisters were very friendly, and not unwilling to converse. One said, "One sister washes as many as she is pretty well able: it's hard on the back."

"And does she have a towel?" said I.

"She girds a towel, and then she washes and wipes them, and gives them a kiss."

"Do you all have your feet washed?" I inquired further.

"No, not those that have any weakness that prevents."

"And will all these brothers have their feet washed?"

"All that communes."

"And do not all commune?"

"Yes, without they feel that they have something against another. Now if I feel that I have something against her—placing her hand upon a sister.

"I understand," interrupted I. "'If thou bring thy gift to the altar—' And how many," I continued, "will there be in such a meeting as this that will not commune? Will there be half a dozen?"

"Oh yes; but by another year all will likely be right, and then they will [pg 721] commune. Now, I did not commune nor have my feet washed."

"Why not?" said I.

"Why, I felt at this time such confusion of mind, as if the Enemy was against me—"

"Well, it was not anything against a brother or sister?"

"No, I count them all ahead of me: I count myself the poorest member."

At the conclusion of the feet-washing a hymn was sung. Among those who had their feet washed was a young man apparently about twenty-two, and who looked full of fun. It seems that even such may be in membership with so strict a sect. It was about one o'clock when the meeting ended, having been in session four hours and a half.

The great simplicity of the surroundings on this occasion may lead the reader to suppose that the congregation was poor. It was, however, composed in a great measure of some of the thriftiest farmers in one of the richest upland sections of the United States.

Some time after attending this meeting I called upon an aged Amish man to converse with him upon their religious society, etc. The Amish are another branch of the Mennonites, and those among us are likewise descendants of Swiss refugees. They are the most primitive of the three divisions of the sect, preserving the use of the Dutch or German language not only in their religious meetings, but almost entirely in their own families.

I mentioned to this aged man the feet-washing that I had attended, and told how Dr. ——, the bishop, had washed the feet of the other brethren.

"Did he wash them all?" said my Amish acquaintance.

"Yes, all that were assigned to him. How is it among you?"

"They wash each other's, every two and two. If he washes them all, he puts himself in Christ's place. He says, 'Wash each other's feet.'"

This, I am also informed, is the rule among the third division, the Old Mennists, the most numerous branch of these remarkable people.



London at present abounds in Americans on their way to the Vienna Exposition. Many of them are commissioners from various States. Some have lands to sell or other financial axes to grind. Of such the Langham Hotel is full. The Langham is the nearest approach to an American hotel in London. There, though not a guest, you may pass in and out without explaining to the hall-porter who you are, what you are, where you come from or what you want: you may there enter and retire without giving your pedigree, naturalization papers or a certificate of good character. At other English hotels something analogous to this is commonly required.

We, who have been in England a full year, look down with an air of superiority on the raw, the newly-arrived American. We are quite English. We have worn out our American clothes. We have on English hats with tightly-curled rims and English stub-toed boots. We know the intricacies of London street navigation, and Islington, Blackfriars, Camden Town, Hackney, the "Surrey Side," Piccadilly, Regent and Oxford streets, the Strand and Fleet street, are all mapped out distinctly in our mind's eye. We are skilled in English money, and no longer pass off half crowns for two-shilling pieces. We are real Anglo-Americans.

But the raw American, only arrived a week, is in a maze, a confusion, a hurry. He is excited and mystified. He tries to appear cool and unconcerned, and is simply ridiculous. His cards, bearing his name, title and official status, he distributes as freely as doth the winter wind the snow-flakes. Inquire at the Langham office for Mr. Smith, and you find he has blossomed into General Smith.

He is always partaking or about to partake of official dinners. He feels that the eyes of all England are upon him. He is dressed à la bandbox—hat immaculate in its pristine gloss, white cravat, umbrella of the slimmest encased in silken wrapper. A speck of mud on his boots would tarnish the national honor. Commonly, he is taken for a [pg 722] head-butler. He drinks much stout. He eats a whitebait dinner before being forty-eight hours in London, and tells of it. All this makes him feel English.

You meet him. He is overjoyed. He would talk of everything—your mutual experience in America, his sensations and impressions since arriving in England. He talks intelligibly of nothing. His brain is a mere rag-bag, shreddy, confused, parti-colored. Thus he empties it: "Passage over rough;" "London wonderful;" "Dined with the earl of —— yesterday;" "Dine with Sir —— to-day;" "To the Tower;" "Westminster;" "New York growing;" "Saint Paul's"—going, going, gone! and he shakes hands with you, and is off at a Broadway gait straight toward the East End of London for his hotel, which lies at the West End.

In reality, the man is not in his right mind. He is undergoing the mental acclimatization fever. Should he stay in London for three months, he might recover and begin to find out where he is. But six months hence he will have returned to America, fancying he has seen London, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Vienna, and whatever other places his body has been hurried through, not his mind; for that, in the excitement and rapidity of his flight, has streamed behind him like the tail of a comet, light, attenuated, vapory, catching nothing, absorbing nothing.

Occasionally this fever takes an abusive phase. He finds in England nothing to like, nothing to admire. Sometimes he wishes immediately to revolutionize the government. He is incensed at the cost of royalty. He sees on every side indications of political upheaval. Or he becomes culinarily disgusted. Because there are no buckwheat cakes, no codfish cakes, no hot bread, no pork and beans, no mammoth oysters, stewed, fried and roasted, he can find nothing fit to eat. The English cannot cook. Because he can find no noisy, clattering, dish-smashing restaurant, full of acrobatic waiters racing and balancing under immense piles of plates, and shouting jargon untranslatable, unintelligible and unpronounceable down into the lower kitchen, he cannot, cannot eat.



The occasion commemorated in the following verses—one of those festive meetings with which tender-hearted Philadelphians are wont to brace themselves up for sorrowful partings—called forth expressions of deep regret and cordial good wishes, in which many of our readers, we doubt not, will readily join:

If from my quivering lips in vain

The faltering accents strove to flow,

It was because my heart's deep pain

Bade tears be swift and utterance slow;

For in that moment rose the ghosts

Of pleasant hours in bygone years;

And your kind faces, O my hosts!

Showed blurred and dimly through my tears.

I could not tell you of the pride

That thrilled me in that parting hour:

Grief held command all undenied,

And only o'er my speech had power.

I found no words to tell the thoughts

That strove for utterance in my brain:

With gratitude my soul was fraught,

And yet I only spoke of pain.

O friends! 'tis you, and such as you,

That make this parting hard to bear!

Pass all things else my past life knew:

I scarcely heed—I do not care.

I lose in you the dearest part

Of pleasant time that here now ends:

Hand parts from hand, not heart from heart,

And I must leave you, O my friends!

What can the future's fairest hours

Bring me to recompense for these?

Acquaintances spring like the flowers—

Friends are slow growth, like forest trees.

Come hope or gladness, what there will—

Days bright as sunshine after rain—

The past gave life's best blessings still:

We'll find no friends like these again.

I leave you in the dear old home

That once was mine—now mine no more:

Henceforth a stranger I must come

To haunts so well beloved of yore;

Yet if your faces turn to mine

The kindly smile I'm wont to see,

Not all, not all I must resign—

My lost home's light still shines for me!

Whatever chance or change be mine

In other climes, 'neath foreign skies,

Your love, your kindness, I shall hold

Dearest amid dear memories.

O eyes grown dim with falling tears!

O lips where Sorrow lays her spell!

The saddest task of all life's years

Is yours—to look and say farewell!


AUGUSTIN'S, April 7, 1873.

[pg 723]


Between the careers of Cavour and Thiers no sound parallel can easily be traced, but in their characters—or rather in their diplomatic methods and arts—there would seem to be some curious and almost ludicrous points of resemblance, if we may accept as true a sketch of the great Italian statesman made by M. Plattel, the author of "Causeries Franco-Italiennes," fifteen years ago. M. Plattel, who wrote from close personal observation, at that time described Count Cavour as being physically "M. Thiers magnified;" or, if you prefer, M. Thiers is the count viewed through the big end of an opera-glass. The count, says M. Plattel, "has the spectacles, and even a similar expression of finesse. When things take a serious turn, the count puts both hands in his pockets; and if you see him do that, expect to hear this threat: 'If you do not pass this bill, signori deputati, I consider you incapable of longer managing the affairs of the country: I have the honor of bidding you good-evening.' For (and this is a strange peculiarity) this first minister is never steadier than when in danger of falling; and his grand oratorical, or rather ministerial, figure of speech is to seize his hat and his cane, whereupon the chamber rises and begs M. de Cavour to sit down. M. de Cavour lets them plead a while, and then—he sits down again! Reading his speeches now in Paris, I can fancy the count with his hat by his side and his hand on the door-knob. Heaven knows how many times that comedy-proverb of Musset called 'A door must either be open or shut,' has been gravely played by the Sardinian Parliament and the prime minister!" It is with a very droll effect that a French paper has revived this curious description, à propos of the perpetual repetition of the drama played by the French Assembly and the French president, in which the constant threats of resignation on the one hand are invariably followed by passionate and despairing entreaties to "stay" on the other. It is the old story of Cavour and the door-knob over again; and even the great Bismarck, by the way, does not disdain a resort occasionally to the same terrible pantomime. "The only coup d'état to be feared from M. Thiers," said M. Dufaure in the Assembly, "is his withdrawal." It is, the quarreling and reconciliation of Horace and Lydia: "What if the door of the repudiated Lydia again open to me?" "Though you are stormier than blustering Adriatic, I should love to live with you," etc. Such is the billing and cooing, after quarrel, between the president and the Assembly. Still, it is clear that the puissant hat-and-cane argument must date back to Cavour.

The recent proposition of some English writers to elevate a certain class of suicides to the rank of a legalized "institution," under the pleasant name of "euthanasia," suggests the inquiry whether, without any scientific vindication of the practice, there will not always be suicides enough in ordinary society. At any rate, however it may be in England, just across the Channel, in France, thousands of people every year break the "canon 'gainst self-slaughter," leaving the ills they have to "fly to others that they know not of." The official figures show that in a period of twenty-two years no less than 71,207 persons committed suicide in France. The causes were various—business embarrassments, domestic chagrins, the brutishness produced by liquor, poverty, insanity, the desire to put an end to physical suffering by "euthanasia," and so on; but they are pretty nearly all included in the "fardels" which Hamlet mentions, from the physical troubles of the "heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to," up to the mental distress wrought by the "whips and scorns of time, the oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, the pangs of despised love," and so on in the well-remembered catalogue. Perhaps the most interesting point in these statistics concerns the means employed for suicide. These are thus tabulated: Hanging, 24,536; drowning, 23,221; shooting, 10,197; asphyxia by charcoal fumes (a true Paris appliance), [pg 724] 5587; various cutting instruments, 2871; plunging or jumping from an elevated place (an astonishing number), 2841; poison, 1500; sundry other methods, 454. Hanging and drowning are thus accountable for more than half the French suicides. The little stove of charcoal suggests itself as a remedy at hand to many a wretch without the means to buy a pistol or the nerve to use a knife. The cases of voluntary resort to poison are astonishingly few, but it must be remembered that the foregoing figures only embrace successful suicides, and antidotes to poison often come in season where the rope or the river would have made quick and fatal work. La France notes, regarding these statistics, that their details show that men oftenest use pistols, and women oftenest try poison, in their attempts at suicide. What is more curious, each man is likely to employ an instrument familiar to him: thus, hunters and soldiers resort to the pistol, barbers trust the razor, shoemakers use the knife, engravers the graving-tool, washerwomen poison themselves with potash or Prussian blue; though, of course, these are only general rules, with a great many exceptions. And in Paris it is said that among all ranks and professions, and in both sexes, at least half of the suicides are by asphyxiation with charcoal. Surely in France one hardly needs to preach any doctrine of not patiently suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. A healthier and more inspiring morality would be that of the story of the baron of Grogzwig and his adventure with the "Genius of Despair and Suicide," as narrated in an episode of Nicholas Nickleby; for the stout baron, after thinking over his purpose of making a voluntary departure from this world, and finding he had no security of being any the better for going out of it, abandoned the plan, and adopted as a rule in all cases of melancholy to look at both sides of the question, and to apply a magnifying-glass to the better one.

In Philadelphia, at least, where there is still a respect for age, the tidings will be received with respectful regret of the death of Nono, a noted pensionary of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, at the ripe age of more than a hundred years. To have achieved the celebrity of being the oldest inmate of that institution was no despicable distinction, but the venerable centenarian had other claims to honor. A native of the Marquesas Islands, he was brought by Bougainville in 1776 to the Royal Museum, afterward known as the Jardin des Plantes. It has frequently been alleged that parrots may live a hundred years: Nono has established the fact by living still longer. As he thus contributes an illustration to science, so surely he might point a general moral and adorn a historic tale. If Thackeray could discourse so wisely on "Some Carp at Sans Souci," the vicissitudes which this veteran Parisian witnessed in the French capital from 1776 to 1873, under two empires, two royal dynasties and three republics, might be worth a rhapsody. Nono seems to have been a well-preserved old parrot. Magnificent in youth, he attained literally a green old age, for his plumage was still fresh and thick. Very naturally, he had lost his houppe, and was almost totally bald. However, his eye was clear and bright enough to have read the finest print or followed the finest needlework; and it had the narquois, lightly skeptical look of those who have seen a great deal of life. In short, Nono was a stylish and eminently respectable old bird. That worthy person, Monsieur Chavreul, who treats the animals of the Jardin like a father, has stuffed and mounted the illustrious Nono as a testimonial of affection and respect.

The connection between war and botany is, at first, not specially obvious, and yet a very clear bit of testimony to their relation was disclosed by the siege of Paris. Two naturalists have published a Florula Obsidionalis, which, as its name partly indicates, is a catalogue of the accidental flora of the late investment of Paris. They reckon in their list not less than one hundred and ninety [pg 725] species before unknown to the neighborhood of the French capital, whereof fifty-eight are leguminous (such as peas, beans, etc.), thirty-four are composite, thirty-two are plantes grasses, and sixty-six belong to other families. Almost all are to be found chiefly on the left bank of the Seine, though also discoverable at Neuilly and in the Bois de Boulogne. Of course, these new-comers are all accounted for as the produce of seeds brought by the German army. They will gradually die out; and yet some few may remain as permanent conquerors of the soil, since among the flora of Paris is still reckoned one plant whose seed was brought into France by some Russian forage-train in 1815.

As the impudence, dishonesty, laziness and rapacity of servants at watering-places have long been familiar subjects of satire, it is just to say a word on the other side in favor of some extreme Northern resorts. At the White Mountains, for example, the waiters and waitresses are of a better class than is generally met. Some of the young girls are farmers' daughters, who go to the hotels to see the fashions and earn a little pocket-money. The colored cook at one of the great houses teaches dancing during the winters. Not a few are school-teachers, others students at country academies, who pass their vacation in this way in order to earn enough to buy text-books or pay the winter's tuition. Many of them are more intelligent and well educated than some of the shoddies they wait upon. They are usually quicker in movement and of more retentive memory than the average American waiter; and though each has a great deal to do at times, yet even during the tremendous moment of dinner they contrive to find a few little intervals for harmless flirtations in the dining-room. They are for the most part well-mannered too, and if they talk to you of each other as "this lady" or "that gentleman," what is it more than some waiters do with far less reason? The New Hampshire villages become versed every summer in the latest imported fashions, thanks to the quick eyes of the hotel waitresses.


Lars: A Pastoral of Norway. By Bayard Taylor. Boston: Osgood & Co.

Mr. Taylor's muse has of late become very still-faced, decorous and mindful of the art-proprieties. Cautious is she, and there is perhaps nothing in this pastoral that will cause the grammarian to wince, or make the censorious rhetorician writhe in his judgment-seat with the sense that she is committing herself. Not such were the early attributes of the great itinerant's poetry. When he used to unsling his minstrel harp in the wilds of California or on the sunrise mountains of the Orient, there were plenty of false notes, plenty of youthful vivacities that overbore the strings and were heard as a sudden crack, and, withal, a good deal of young frank fire. Now there is much finish and the least possible suspicion of ennui. But the life-history of Lars is worth reading. It is a calm procession of pictures, without pretence, except the slight pretence of classical correctness. The first part, which reflects Norwegian manners in a way reminding us more or less of the exquisite stories of Bjornsen, tells how two swains of Ulvik, Lars the hunter and Per the fisher, quarrel for love of Brita, and at a public wrestling decide the question by a combat, fighting with knives, in Norse fashion, while hooked to each other at the belt. They strip, à la Heenan and Sayers. Mr. Taylor, who does not often come behind the occasion when he can get a human figure to describe statue-wise or [pg 726] under a studio light, is perhaps a trifle too Phidian in bringing out the good looks of his fish-eating gladiators:

The low daylight clad

Their forms with awful fairness, beauty now

Of life, so warm and ripe and glorious, yet

So near the beauty terrible of Death.

Lars, the victor, has all the ill-luck. His foe falls lifeless, his sweetheart calls him a murderer, and he flies from the law. Another scene quickly shows him crossing the broad ocean, as so many Norwegians and Swedes had crossed before him, and seeking the protection of Swedish forts on Delaware banks. Long, sad days pass on the ocean,

Till shining fisher-sails

Came, stars of land that rose before the land;

and soon he leaps to shore in New Sweden, only to find that the civilization he seeks has set like a sinking planet into the abiding enlightenment of another race and creed. Governor Printz's fortress on Tinicum isle is a ruin of yellow bricks: the wanderer strays up the broad stream

To where, upon her hill, fair Wilmington

Looks to the river over marshy weeds.

He saw the low brick church with stunted tower,

The portal-arches, ivied now and old,

And passed the gate: lo! there the ancient stones

Bore Norland names and dear familiar words!

It seemed the dead a comfort spake.

The governor is a myth, the Swedes are dead, the Scandinavian tongues have been changed to English, and an English exactly conformed to King James's translation of the Scriptures. The first girl he speaks to checks him for addressing her with a civility:

"Nay," she said, "not lady! call me Ruth."

With the father of this primitive Nausicaa, on Hockessin Farm, the wanderer abides as herdsman. Soon, under the propaganda of Ruth's soft eyes and the drowsy spell of the Delawarean society, he joins the peaceful sect amongst which he labors. It is easier, though, to change his plural pronouns to the scriptural thou and thee of King James's translators than to tame his heroic Viking blood, swift to boil into wrath at the show of oppression. Such an outburst leads to a quaint scene of acknowledgment and repentance, where lies

Up beyond the woods, at crossing-roads,

The heart of all, the ancient meeting-house.

Lars, prayed over by the brethren, bursts forth in tears and supplications among the worshipers, and is received into full harmony with them:

So into joy revolved the doubtful year,

And, ere it closed, the gentle fold of Friends

Sheltered another member, even Lars....

And all the country-side assembled there

One winter Sabbath, when in snow and sky

The colors of transfiguration shone,

Within the meeting-house. There Ruth and Lars

Together sat upon the women's side;

And when the peace was perfect, they arose:

He took her by the hand, and spake these words,

As ordered: "In the presence of the Lord

And this assembly, by the hand I take

Ruth Mendenhall, and promise unto her,

Divine assistance blessing me, to be

A loving and a faithful husband, even

Till death shall separate us." Then spake Ruth

The like sweet words; and so the twain were one.

It is not often that a liturgy has been translated into metre with less change of its form and substance.

The imbedding of a raw Northern native in this lap of repose and in this transfiguring matrimonial alliance is the grand problem of the poem. What will Lars do, now that he is a man of peace and a Child of Light, with the burden of conscience? In America he is a saint and an apostle. In Europe he is known but as a proscribed murderer. The later scenes, where Lars, accompanied by his true and tender wife, meets his old love, his neighbors, and his rival restored to life, are of a more ambitious character than any that have preceded. The holy principles imbibed on the shores of Delaware are made to triumph, and Lars, dropping the sharp blade from his hand in the thronged arena whither he is forced once more, stands first as a laughing-stock, and then as an apostle, among his old neighbors. It is a position full of moral force, and we find ourselves—suddenly recovering in a degree from the calm view we had taken of the poem as a work of art—asking how we should be so sensible of the grandeur of the situation if the poet by his skill had not brought out its peculiarity.

A Lady of the Last Century. By Dr. Doran. London: Bentley.

This is the life of a lady remarkable in herself and in her surroundings. Of every day in her life she could say, in the words of Horace, "I have lived." "She never had a fool for an acquaintance," says her biographer, "nor an idle hour in the sense of idleness." Her father, Mr. Robinson, who belonged to an eminent family which had [pg 727] been settled about a century at Rokeby, subsequently the seat of Scott's friend Morritt, in Yorkshire, married when a boy of eighteen a rich young lady of very superior quality in every respect, and by her had a large family. His wife's mother married secondly Middleton, the biographer of Cicero, who took a great fancy to her grand-daughter, Elizabeth Robinson, and paid much attention to her intellectual development. In fact, from the cradle to the grave she was thrown amongst the erudite and cultivated in a very uncultivated age. During her girlhood Elizabeth Robinson had every advantage and pleasure which wealthy and devoted parents could give her, and when twenty-two she married Mr. Edward Montagu, a grandson of the first earl of Sandwich, and first cousin of the celebrated Lady Mary's husband.

Mrs. Montagu was far more fortunate in her choice than the brilliant daughter of the duke of Kingston. Her husband was in every way estimable and amiable, and her letters afford ample evidence how thoroughly she appreciated his character. They had only one child, who died in infancy, and when Mr. Montagu died he bequeathed to his widow the whole of his property, which she in turn left to her nephew, who took the name of Montagu and became Lord Rokeby.

A few years after their marriage Mr. Montagu, already affluent, received a great accession of fortune in the shape of colliery property in the north of England. This enabled his wife to entertain very liberally, and, in conjunction with her talents and high connections, gave her a commanding place in society. They took a large house in Hill street, then the extremity of the West End, which became the resort of that class who, being anxious to put an end to eternal card-playing and introduce rather more of the intellectual into social intercourse, received from a chance circumstance the name of "blue-stockings." There were to be seen Burke, Fox, Hannah More, Johnson, Lord Lyttelton, etc. Subsequently, Mrs. Montagu fitted up a room whose walls were hung with feathers, and thence came Cowper's well-known lines and Macaulay's passage: "There were the members of that brilliant society which quoted, criticised and exchanged repartees under the rich peacock hangings of Mrs. Montagu." After her husband's death a great deal of business devolved on her in the management of his estates, and here she showed those qualities which are singularly conspicuous in Englishwomen of rank. She went down to Northumberland, inspected her farms, visited her colliers, and made acquaintance with her tenants. She seems particularly to have appreciated the people in Yorkshire, and her descriptions of them recall in no slight degree some of those of the sisters Bronté. Her principal seat was at Sandleford in Berkshire, where she spent large sums in improvements under the celebrated landscape-gardener "Capability Brown."

She survived her husband twenty-five years, and about twenty years before her death removed to a fine house which she had erected in a then new part of London, Portman Square, and which is still known as Montagu House. But the entertainments there given were, though more splendid, less notable than in the humbler mansion in Hill street, for Mrs. Montagu herself was getting into years, and many of those who had been the brightest ornaments of the Hill street parties were passing away. Mrs. Montagu died in 1800, at the age of seventy. She was of an affectionate disposition, but had somewhat less sensibility perhaps than most men would like to see in a woman; yet, on the whole, she played her part in life extremely well, being wise, generous and true.

The book is particularly interesting for the rich aroma of association around it, and would have been far more so had Dr. Doran taken the trouble to give a few notes, of which there is not a single one in the whole book—a serious drawback, more especially to American readers.

The Treaty of Washington: Its Negotiation, Execution, and the Discussions relating thereto. By Caleb Cushing. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Mr. Cushing has given another proof of the great capacity of some men to do very clever work, but to fail utterly in giving an adequate account of the work itself or of the way in which it was done. Trained by long experience in public business, and intimately acquainted by long residence in Washington with the methods of diplomatic negotiation and interpretation, he was eminently fitted to be the colleague of Mr. Evarts as counsel for the government before the Geneva arbitration. Here he undertakes to give an account of the task there brought to a result so [pg 728] favorable to the United States. Unluckily, he shows that he is always and only an advocate. Much that may have been useful for his duties in that office is prominent in a disagreeable way in his recital of the Geneva award. His language is loose and offensive, often without meaning to be so, but oftener in a way that shows how much he must have been galled by the lord chief-justice of England. Whatever Sir Alexander Cockburn may have done there, and however much he may have fallen from his high estate as one of the arbitrators to the less dignified position of an advocate for English claims, he will have a sweet revenge in seeing the anger that he has excited in one of the American representatives, now become their spokesman. Mr. Cushing falls into the blunder that was once so common in our American state papers as to give good cause for that happy phrase of Nicholas Biddle—"Western Orientalisms." The tone of the book, which ought to be a simple story, is stilted and rhetorical. The result of all the long discussions is the best praise of our American statesmen who were its authors, but it is dwarfed and lessened by the fulsome praise given to the foreign representatives who brought it about. Of "bad language," in keeping with the bad spirit of the book, the following may serve as specimens: "Pretensiveness," "frequentation," "annexion," "capitulations" instead of "treaties," "monogram" for "monograph," "it needs to," "howmuchsoever," "law-books invested with the reflection of fine scenery," "imposed itself," "I demand of myself," and other such phrases without number.

Once done with Sir Alexander Cockburn and the work at Geneva, Mr. Cushing shows himself and his country to much better advantage in discussing the "Mixed Commission" now sitting at Washington, the Northwest Boundary, the Fisheries, and the general provisions of the Washington treaty. He has, however, simply forestalled the ground for some better writer on the important history which belongs to that negotiation, and will give the reading and reflecting public, both abroad and at home, a very unfavorable impression of the great task in which he played so important a part, and of the qualities of mind and temper he must have brought to it, since at this late day he finds no better impetus to the work of writing its history than unexplained anger at one of the members of the board before which Mr. Cushing argued the cause of his country, and helped to win it.

Books Received.

The Drawing-Room Stage: A Series of Original Dramas, Comedies, Farces, and Entertainments for Amateur Theatricals and School Exhibitions. By George M. Baker. Illustrated. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Five Years in an English University. By Charles Astor Bristed, late Foundation Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge. Third edition. Revised by the Author. New York: G.P. Putnam & Sons.

Memoirs of Madame Desbordes-Valmore. By the late C.A. Sainte-Beuve. With a Selection from her Poems. Translated by Harriet W. Preston. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Livingstone and his African Explorations: together with a Full Account of the Young, Stanley and Dawson Search Expeditions. New York: Adams, Victor & Co.

The Mother's Register: Current Notes of the Health of Children. From the French of Professor J.B. Fonssagrines. New York: G.P. Putnam & Sons.

Thorvaldsen: His Life and Works. By Eugene Plon. Translated from the French by J. M. Luyster. Illustrated. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Scientific and Industrial Education: its Importance to our Country. By G.B. Stebbins. Detroit: Daily Post Printing Establishment.

Never Again. By W.S. Mayo, M.D., author of "Kaloolah," "The Berber," etc. New York: G.P. Putnam & Sons.

The World-Priest. From the German of Leopold Schafer. By Charles T. Brooks. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

The Cuban Question in the Spanish Parliament. London: Press of the Anglo-American Times.

Treason at Home: A Novel. By Mrs. Greenough. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson & Brothers.

Myths and Myth-Makers. By John Fiske, M.A., LL.B. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co.

An Account of the Sphynx at Mount Auburn. Illustrated. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

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