The Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature
and Science,  April, 1876., by Various

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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science,  April, 1876.

Author: Various

Release Date: August 21, 2004 [EBook #13242]

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.




APRIL, 1876.
Vol. XVII, No. 100.




















































[pg 393]




None of the European exhibitions we have sketched partook of the nature of an anniversary or was designed to commemorate an historical event. Some idea of celebrating the close of the calendar half-century may have helped to determine the choice of 1851 as the year for holding the first London fair; but if so, it was only with reference to the general progress during this period, and not to any notable fact at its commencement. Still less did the later exhibitions owe any portion of their significance and interest to their connection with a date. They afforded occasion for comparison and rivalry, but no shape loomed up out of the past claiming to preside over the festival, to have its toils and achievements remembered, and to [pg 394] be credited with a share in the production of the harvests garnered by its successors.

In our case it is very different. Here was the birth-year of the Union coming apace. It forced itself upon our contemplation. It appealed not merely to the average passion of grown-up boys for hurrahs, gun-firing, bell-ringing, and rockets sulphureous and oratorical. It addressed us in a much more sober tone and assumed a far more didactic aspect. Looking from its throne of clouds o'er half the (New) World—and indeed, as we have shown, constructively over the Old as well—it summoned us to the wholesome moral exercise of pausing a moment in our rapid career to revert to first principles, moral, social and political, and to explore the germs of our marvelous material progress. Nor could we assume this office as exclusively for our own benefit. The rest of Christendom silently assigned it to the youngest born for the common good. Circumstances had placed in our hands the measuring-rod of Humanity's growth, and all stood willing to gather upon our soil for its application, so far as that could be made by the method devised and perfected within the past quarter of a century. It was here, a thousand leagues away from the scene of the first enterprise of the kind, that the culminating experiment was to be tried.


To what point on a continent as broad as the Atlantic were they to come? The [pg 395] European fairs were hampered with no question of locality. That Austria should hold hers at Vienna, France at Paris, and Britain at London, were foregone conclusions. But the United States have a plurality of capitals, political, commercial, historical and State. Washington, measured by house-room and not by magnificent distances, was too small. New York, acting with characteristic haste, had already indulged in an exposition, and it lacked, moreover, the rich cluster of associations that might have hallowed its claims as the "commercial metropolis." Among the State capitals Boston alone had the needed historical eminence, but, besides the obvious drawback of its situation, its capacity and its commissariat resources, except for a host of disembodied intellects, must prove insufficient. There remained the central city of the past, the seat of the Continental Congress, of the Convention and of the first administrations under the Constitution which it framed—the halfway-house between North and South of the early warriors and statesmen, and the workshop in which the political machinery that has since been industriously filed at home and more or less closely copied abroad was originally forged. Where else could the two ends of the century be so fitly brought together? Here was the Hall of 1776; the other hall that nearly two years earlier received the first assemblage of "that hallowed name that freed the Atlantic;" the modest building in a bed-chamber of which the Declaration of Independence was penned; and other localities rich with memories of the men of our heroic age.

The space of a few blocks covered the council-ground of the Union. Those few acres afforded room enough for the beating of its political heart for twenty-five years, from the embryonic period to that of maturity—from the meeting of a consulting committee of subject colonists to the establishment of unchallenged and symmetrical autonomy.

The growth of Philadelphia from this contracted germ was only less remarkable than that of the government. The capital of the provincial rebels had expanded into one fit for an empire, comparable to Vienna as a site for a World's Exposition and a caravanserai for those who should attend it. Such advantages would have caused its selection had the question been submitted in the first instance to the unbiased vote of various quarters of the Union, all expected and all prepared to contribute an equal quota, according to population and means, of the cost. But the enterprise of the community itself anticipated such decision. Its own citizens hastened to appropriate the idea and shoulder the responsibility. They felt that the standpoint wherefrom they were able to address their countrymen was a commanding one, and they lost no time in lifting up their voice. Aware that those who take the initiative have always to carry more than their share of the burden, they were very moderate in their calls for aid; and the demand for that they rested chiefly upon the same ground which naturally sustained part of their own calculations of reimbursement in some shape, direct or indirect—local self-interest. The dislike to the entire loss of a large outlay on an uncertain event is not peculiar to this commercial age. Appeals on the side of patriotism and of public enthusiasm over the jubilee of a century would be at least as effective with the American people as with any other in the world; but they could not be expected to be all-powerful, and to need no assistance from the argument of immediate and palpable advantage. In default of subscriptions to the main fund from distant towns and States, these were invited to provide for the cost of collecting, transporting and arranging their individual shares of the display. This they have generally, and in many cases most liberally, done, in addition to direct subscriptions greater in amount than the provinces of either Austria, France or England made to their respective expositions. Withal, it could surprise no one that Pennsylvania and her chief city would have to be the main capitalists of an undertaking located on their own soil.

These came forward with a promptness that at once raised the movement [pg 396] above the status of a project. The city with a million and a half, and the State with a million, replenished the exchequer of the association after a fashion that ensured in every quarter confidence in its success, and at the same time extinguished what little disposition may have been manifested elsewhere to cavil at the choice of location. These large subventions very properly contemplated something more than the encouragement of a transient display, and were for the most part devoted to the erection of structures of a permanent character, such as the Art-Gallery or Memorial Hall and the Horticultural Building. To endowments of this description, called forth by the occasion, we might add the Girard Avenue Bridge, the finest in the country, erected by the city at the cost of a million and a half, and leading direct to the exhibition grounds. The concession of two hundred and sixty acres of the front of Fairmount Park, with the obliteration of costly embellishments that occupied the ground taken for the new exposition buildings, may be viewed in the light of another contribution.


A treasury meant to accommodate seven millions of dollars—three millions less than the Vienna outlay—still showed an aching void, which was but partially satisfied by the individual subscriptions of Philadelphians. It became necessary to sound the financial tocsin in the ears of all the Union. Congress, States, cities, counties, schools, churches, citizens and children were appealed to for subscriptions. The shares were fixed at the convenient size of ten dollars each, hardly the market-value of the stock-certificate, "twenty-four by twenty inches on the best bank-note paper," which became the property of each fortunate shareholder on the instant of payment. But these seductive pictures belonged to a class of art with which the moneyed public had become since '73 unhappily too familiar. They had to jostle, in the gallery of the stock-market, a vast and various collection exhaustive of the whole field of allegory, mythological and technical, and framed in the most bewitching aureoles of blue, red and green printer's [pg 397] ink. It seemed in '72 much more probable that the Coon Swamp and Byzantium Trans-Continental Railway would be able, the year after completion, to pay eight per cent. on fifty thousand dollars of bonds to the mile, sold at seventy in the hundred, than it did in '75 that ten millions of fifty-cent tickets could be disposed of in six months at any point on the Continent. Thus it happened that the exchange of Mr. Spinner's twenty square inches of allegory for the three square feet of Messrs. Ferris & Darley's went on slowly, and it became painfully obvious that the walls of but an imperceptible minority of American homes would have the patriotic faith and fervor of their occupants attested a century hence by these capacious engravings, as that of a hundred years ago is by rusty muskets and Cincinnati diplomas.

Still, the stock did not altogether go a-begging. The adjacent State of New Jersey signed for the sum of $100,000, more remote New Hampshire and Connecticut for $10,000 each, and little Delaware for the same. Kansas gave $25,000. Five thousand were voted by the city of Wilmington, and a thin fusillade of ten-dollar notes played slowly from all points of the compass. This was kept up to the last, and with some increase of activity, but it was a mere affair of pickets, that could not be decisive.

Undismayed, the managers fought their way through fiscal brake and brier, the open becoming more discernible with each effort, till in February, 1876, Congress rounded off their strong box with the neat capping of a million and a half. The entire cost of administration and construction was thus covered, and the association distinguished from all its predecessors by the assurance of being able on the opening day to invite its thousands of guests to floors laden with the wealth of the world, but with not an ounce of debt.

The assistance extended in another and indirect form by the States collectively and individually was valuable. Congress appropriated $505,000 for the erection of a building and the collection therein of whatever the different Federal departments could command of the curious and instructive. Massachusetts gave for a building of her own, and for aiding the contribution of objects by her citizens, $50,000; New York for a like purpose, $25,000; New Hampshire, Nevada and West Virginia, $20,000 each; Ohio, $13,000; Illinois, $10,000; and other States less sums. The States in all, and in both forms of contribution, have given over four hundred thousand dollars—not a fourth, strange to say, of the sums appropriated by foreign governments in securing an adequate display of the resources, energy and ingenuity of their peoples. It does not approach the donation of Japan, and little more than doubles that of Spain. In explanation, it may be alleged that our exhibitors, being less remote, will encounter less expense, and a larger proportion of them will be able to face their own expenses.

Great as is the value to a country of a free and facile interchange of commodities and ideas between its different parts, of not less—under many circumstances far greater—importance is its wide and complete intercourse with foreign lands. Provincial differences are never so marked as national. The latter are those of distinct idiosyncrasies—the former, but modifications of one and the same. To study members of our own family is only somewhat to vary the study of ourselves. Really to learn we must go outside of that circle. Hence the tremendous effect of the world-searching commerce of modern times in the enlightenment and enrichment of the race.

For the best fruits of the exposition its projectors and all concerned in its success looked abroad. In this estimate of highest results they had the example of Europe. It was remembered that British exports rose from one hundred and thirty-one millions sterling in 1850 to two hundred and fourteen in 1853—an increase equal to our average annual export at present, and double what it was at that time. The declared satisfaction of Austria with her apparent net loss of seven millions of dollars by the exhibition of 1873, in view of the offset she claimed in the stimulus it gave to her domestic [pg 398] industry and the extended market it earned for her foreign trade, was also eloquent. We must therefore address the world in the way most likely to ensure its attention and attendance. The chief essential to that end was that it should be official. Government must address government.


Naturally, this necessity was apparent from the beginning. Congress was addressed betimes, and the consequence was a sufficiently sonorous act of date March 3, 1871, assuming in the title to "provide for celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of American independence." It made, however, no provision at all for that purpose financially. On the contrary, it provided very stringently that the Federal treasury should not be a cent the worse for anything contained in the bill. It furnished, however, the stamp wanted. It "created" the United States Centennial Commission, and it directed the President, as soon as the private corporators should have perfected their work, to address foreign nations, through their diplomatic representatives and our own, in its behalf. A commissioner and alternate were appointed by the President, on the nomination of the respective governors, from each State and Territory, who should have "exclusive control" of the exhibition.

Subsequently, an act of June 1, 1872, established a Centennial Board of Finance, as a body corporate, to manage the fisc of the exhibition, provide ways and means for the construction of the buildings according to the plans adopted by the commission, and after the close of the exhibition to convert its property into cash and divide the same, after paying debts, pro rata among the stockholders. This was to be done under the supervision of the commission, which was to wind up the board, audit its accounts, and make report to the President of the financial outcome of the affair. An inroad on the terms of this act is made by the law of last winter, which makes preferred stock of the million and a half then subscribed by the Federal government—a provision, however, the literal enforcement of which, by the covering back of so much money [pg 399] into the treasury of the United States, is, in our opinion, not probable. It will doubtless be made a permanent appropriation, in some form, for the promotion of the arts of industry and taste.

Ten millions of dollars was the authorized capital of the new board. Events have proved the amplitude of this estimate.

As early as the third day of July, 1873, the President was enabled, by the notification of the governor of Pennsylvania, to make formal proclamation that provision had been made for the completion of the exposition structures by the time contemplated. Nearly three years was thus allotted for preparation to home and foreign exhibitors. A year later (June 5, 1874) an act of a single sentence requested the President "to extend, in the name of the United States, a respectful and cordial invitation to the governments of other nations to be represented and take part in" the exposition; "Provided, however, that the United States shall not be liable, directly or indirectly, for any expenses attending such exposition, or by reason of the same." The abundant caution of this italically emphatic reservation will scarcely preclude the extension to the representatives of foreign governments of such measure of hospitality, on occasion, as they may have in the like case offered our own.

Acts permitting the Centennial medals to be struck at the mint, and admitting free of duty articles designed for exhibition, were passed in June, 1874. The Secretary of the Treasury gave effect to the latter by a clear and satisfactory schedule of regulations. Under its operation foreign exhibitors have all their troubles at home; their goods, once on board ship, reaching the interior of the building with more facility and less of red tape than they generally meet with in attaining the point of embarkation.

The answers of the nations were all that could be desired, and largely beyond any anticipation. Their government appropriations will exceed an aggregate of two millions in our currency. Great Britain, with Australia and Canada, gives for the expenses of her share of the display $250,000 in gold; France, $120,000; Germany, $171,000; Austria, $75,000; Italy, $38,000 from the government direct, and the same sum from the Chamber of Commerce, which is better, as indicating enlightenment and energy among her business-men; Spain, amid all her distractions, $150,000; Japan, an unknown quantity in the calculations of 1851, no less than $600,000; Sweden, $125,000; Norway, $44,000; Ecuador, $10,000; the Argentine Confederation, $60,000; and many others make ample provision not yet brought to figures, among them Egypt, China, Brazil, Chili, Venezuela, and that strange political cousin of ours at the antipodes, begotten and sturdily nurtured by the Knickerbockers, the Orange Free State. In all, we may reckon at forty the governments which have made the affair a matter of public concern, and have ranked with the ordinary and regular cares of administration the interest of their people in being adequately represented at Philadelphia. Many other states will be represented by considerable displays sent at private expense. It results that we shall have twenty-one acres under roof of the best products of the outer world—more than the entire area of the London exposition of 1851. A Muscovite journal, the Golos, expresses a wide popular sentiment in declaring that our exposition "will have immense political importance in the way of international relations." The people suspect they have found what they have long needed—a great commercial, industrial and political 'change to aid in regulating and equalizing the market of ideas and making a common fund of that article of trade, circulating freely and interchangeable everywhere at sight. Practically, the territory of the United States is an island like Great Britain. Everything that comes to Philadelphia, save a little from Canada, will traverse the sea. We are assuming the metropolitan character, whereto isolation is a step. All the imperial centres, old and new, have been seated on islands or promontories. Look at England, Holland, Venice, Carthage, Syracuse, Tyre, Rome and Athens. Shall we add New York and San Francisco—little wards as they are of a continental metropolis?

[pg 400]

A unanimous, graceful and cordial bow of acceptance having thus swept round the globe in response to the invitation of the youngest member of the family, let us glance at the preparations made for the comfortable entertainment of so august an assemblage. An impression that its host was not yet fully out of the woods, that the chestnut-burs were still sticking in his hair, and that the wolf, the buffalo and the Indian were among his intimate daily chums, may have tended to modify its anticipations of a stylish reception. The rough but hearty ways of a country cousin who wished to retaliate for city hospitalities probably limited the calculations of the expectant world. This afforded the cousin aforesaid opportunity for a new surprise, of which he fully determined to avail himself. It is not his habit to aim too low, and that was not his failing in the present instance.


The edifices, according to the original plan, were to excel their European exemplars not less in elegance and elaboration than in completeness for their practical purposes, in adaptation and in capacity. The uncertainty, however, of success in raising the necessary funds in time enforced the abandonment of much that was merely ornate—a circumstance which was proved fortunate by the excess in the demands of exhibitors over all calculations, since the means it was at first proposed to bestow upon the artistic finish of the buildings were needed to provide additional space. As it is, the architectural results actually attained are above the average of such structures in general effect. The Main Building strikes the eye, at an angle of vision proper to its extent, more pleasingly than either of the English or French structures; while for the massiveness and dignity unattainable by glass and iron Memorial Hall has no rival among them, and its façade is inferior chiefly in richness of detail to the main entrance at Vienna. Were it otherwise, some shortcoming in point of external beauty might be pardoned in erections which are meant to stand but for a few months, and which can have no pretensions to the monumental character belonging to true architecture. Suitability to their transient purpose is the great thing to be considered; and their merit in that regard is amply established. Mr. P. Cunliffe Owen, familiar with all the minutiæ of previous expositions, declares them supreme "in thoroughness of plan and energy of construction"—a judgment designed to coyer the whole conception and administration of the exhibition, and one which, coming from a disinterested and competent foreign observer, may be cited as an amply expressive tribute to the zeal and fidelity of those in control. Ex-Governor Hawley of Connecticut, president of the commission, is a native of North Carolina, and brings to the cause a combination of Southern ardor with Northern tenacity. The secretary of the commission, Mr. [pg 401] John L. Campbell of Indiana, was a good second in that bureaucratic branch of the management. The trying charge of supervising the work generally, conducting negotiations and correspondence, and leading as one harmonious body to the objective point of success an army of artists, contractors, superintendents, clerks, exhibitors, railroad companies and State and national commissioners, fell to General A.T. Goshorn of Ohio, director-general. We do not know that anything more eloquent can be said of him than simply thus to name what he had to do and point to what he has done. The duties of procuring the ways and means and controlling their expenditure devolved upon the Centennial Board of Finance. Of this body Mr. John Welsh is Chairman; Mr. Frederick Fraley, Treasurer; and Mr. Thomas Cochran, Chief of the Building Committee. Their office was fixed upon the grounds at an early stage of the proceedings. Mr. Welsh, more fortunate than Wren, has been able while yet in the flesh to point to his monument, and see it rising around him from day to day.

The exposition is peculiarly fortunate in its site. Had historical associations determined the choice of the ground, the array of them in Fairmount Park would have sufficed to justify that which has been made. Its eminences are dotted with the country-houses of the Revolutionary statesmen and with trees under which they held converse. On one of them Robert Morris, our American Beaumarchais, enjoyed his financial zenith and fell to its nadir. To another the wit and geniality of Peters were wont to summon for relaxation the staid Washington, the meditative Jefferson, Rittenhouse the man of mathematics, the gay La Fayette with enthusiasm as yet undamped by Olmütz, and his fellow-émigrés of two other stamps, Talleyrand and the citizen-king that was to be. The house of one of the Penns looked down into a secluded dell which he aptly dubbed Solitude, but which is now the populous abode of monkeys, bears and a variety of other animals, more handsomely housed than any similar collection in America.


Knolls not appropriated by the villas of the old time, or from which they have disappeared, offered admirable locations for some of the buildings of the exposition, and a broad and smooth plateau, situated precisely where it was wanted, at the point nearest the city, offered itself for the largest two, the Main Building and Machinery Hall, with room additional for the Art Building. The amphitheatrical depression flanked on the east by this long wall of granite and glass, and spreading northward to the heights occupied by Horticultural Hall and the Agricultural Building, was assigned to the mushroom city to be formed of the various State and foreign head-quarters, restaurants, the Women's Pavilion, the United States Government Building, that of the press, [pg 402] a monster dairy, a ditto brewery, and a medley of other outcroppings of public and private spirit. To this motley and incoherent assemblage a quiet lakelet nearly in the centre would supply a sorely-wanted feature of repose, were it not to be vexed by a fountain, giving us over bound and helpless to the hurly-burly. But that is what every one will come for. When each member of the congregated world "tries its own expressive power," madness not inappropriately rules the hour. Once in a hundred years a six months' carnival is allowable to so ponderous a body. Civilization here aims to see itself not simply as in a glass, but in a multitude of glasses. To steer its optics through the architectural muddle in the basin before us it will need the retina that lies behind the facets of a fly.


Eighteen hundred and eighty feet long, four hundred and sixty-four wide, forty-eight to the cornice and seventy to the roof-tree, are figures as familiar by this time to every living being in the United States as pictures of the Main Building. At each corner a square tower runs up to a level with the roof, and four more are clustered in the centre of the edifice and rise to the height of a hundred and twenty feet from a base of forty-eight feet square. These flank a central dome one hundred and twenty feet square at base and springing on iron trusses of delicate and graceful design to an apex ninety-six feet above the pavement—the exact elevation of the interior of the old Capitol rotunda. The transept, the intersection of which with the nave forms this pavilion, is four hundred and sixteen feet long. On each side of it is another of the same length and one hundred feet in width, with aisles of forty-eight feet each. Longitudinally, the divisions of the interior correspond with these transverse lines. A nave one hundred and twenty feet wide and eighteen hundred and thirty-two feet long—said to be unique for combined length and width—is accompanied by two side avenues a hundred feet wide, and as many aisles forty-eight feet wide. An exterior aisle twenty-four feet wide, and as many high to a half-roof or clerestory, passes round the whole building except where interrupted by the main entrances in the centres of the sides and ends and a number of minor ones between.

The iron columns which support the central nave and transept are forty-five feet high, the roof between rising to seventy. Those of the side avenues and transepts are of the same height, with a roof-elevation of sixty-five feet. The columns of the centre space are seventy-two feet high. In all, the columns number six hundred and seventy-two. They stand twenty-two feet apart upon foundations of solid masonry. Being of rolled iron, bolted together in segments, they can, like the other constituents of the building, be taken apart and erected elsewhere when the gentlemen of the commission, their good work done and [pg 403] the century duly honored, shall fold their tents like the Arabs, though not so silently.

A breadth of thirty feet will be left to the main promenades along and athwart, of fifteen feet to the principal ones on either side, and of ten feet to all the others. Narrow highways these for traversing the kingdoms of the world, but, combined, they nearly equal the bottom depth of the Suez Canal, very far exceed the five feet of the Panama Railway, and still farther the camel-track that sufficed a few centuries ago to link our ancestors to the Indies. The berths of the nations run athwartship, or north and south as the great ark is anchored. The classes of objects are separated by lines running in the opposite direction. Noah may be supposed to have followed some such arrangement in his storage of zoological zones and families. He had the additional aid of decks; which our assemblers of the universe decline, small balconies of observation being the only galleries of the Main Building. Those at the different stages of the central towers will be highly attractive to students who prefer the general to the particular, or who, exhausted for the time, retire to clear their brains from the dust of detail and muster their faculties for another charge on the vast army of art. From this perch one may survey mankind from China to Peru through "long-drawn aisles" flooded with mellow light, the subdued tones of the small surface that glass leaves open to the paint-brush relieved with a few touches of positive color to destroy monotony. These are assisted by the colored glass louvres, which have no other artistic merit, but serve, where they are placed over the side-entrances, to indicate the nation to whose department belongs that particular vomitorium.

Four miles of water- and drainage-pipe underlie the twenty-one and a half acres of plank floor in this building. The pillars and trusses contain thirty-six hundred tons of iron. The contract for it was awarded in July, 1874, and it was completed in eighteen months, being ready for the reception of goods early in January last. The cost was $1,420,000, and in mechanical execution the iron-, glass- and wood-work is pronounced fully equal to either of the British structures and superior to those of the Continent. In economy of material for producing a given result it is probable that the iron trusses and supports of the English buildings are as much excelled as the iron bridges of this country surpass those of Great Britain in the combination of lightness with strength. Our metal is better, and its greater cost has united with the scarcity of labor which so stimulated ingenuity in other departments of industry to enforce tenuity of form. Foreign engineers wonder that our viaducts stand, but somehow they do stand.

The turrets and eagles of galvanized sheet iron, not being intended to support anything but jokes, need not be criticized as part of the construction. The tiled pavements of the vestibules, designed to sustain, besides criticism of the he-who-walks-may-read order, the impact of the feet of all nations, are more important. Their pattern is very fair—their solidity will doubtless stand the test. The turf and shrubbery meant to brighten the entourage, especially at the carriage concourse on the east front, we can hardly hope will fare so well. The defence of their native soil, to prevent its being rent from them by the heedless tread of millions and scattered abroad in the shape of dust, will demand the most untiring struggles of the guardian patriots in the Centennial police service.

Shall we step northward from the middle of this building to Memorial Hall, or thread the great nave to the western portal and enter the twin tabernacle sacred to Vulcan? The answer readily suggests itself: substantials before dessert—Mulciber before the Muses. Let us get the film of coal-smoke, the dissonance of clanking iron and the unloveliness of cog-wheels from off our senses before offering them to the beautiful, pure and simple. We come from the domain of finished products, complete to the last polish, silently self-asserting and wooing the almighty dollar with all their simpers. We pass to their noisy hatching- and training-ground, where all the processes [pg 404] of their creation from embryo to maturity are to be rehearsed for our edification. We shall here become learned in the biography of everything a machine can create, from an iron-clad to a penknife or a pocket-handkerchief. In the centre of the immense hall, fourteen hundred and two by three hundred and sixty feet and covering fourteen acres, the demiurges of this nest of Titans, an engine—which if really of fourteen hundred horse-power must be the largest hitherto known—is getting together its bones of cast and thews of wrought iron, and seems already like the first lion "pawing to be free." Its first throb one would fancy inevitably fatal to the shell of timber and glass that surrounds it.


Before it is brought to the test let us explore that shell. To our eye, its external appearance is more pleasing than that of the building we just left. The one central and four terminal towers, with their open, kiosk-like tops, are really graceful, and the slender spires which surmount them are preferable to the sham of sheet-iron turrets. Thanks, too, to the necessity of projecting an annex for hydraulic engines from one side of the middle, the building is distinguished by the possession of a front. The main cornice is forty feet in height upon the outside; the interior height being seventy feet in the two main longitudinal avenues and forty feet in the one central and two side aisles. The avenues are each ninety feet in width, and the aisles sixty, with a space of fifteen feet for free passage in the former and ten in the latter. A transept ninety feet broad crosses the main building into that for hydraulics, bringing up against a tank sixty by one hundred and sixty feet, whereinto the water-works are to precipitate, Versailles fashion, a cataract thirty-five feet high by-forty wide.

The substitution of timber for iron demands a closer placing of the pillars. They are consequently but sixteen feet apart "in the row," the spans being correspondingly more contracted. This has the compensating advantage, æsthetically speaking, of offering more surface for decorative effect, and the opportunity has been fairly availed of. The coloring of the roof, tie-rods and piers expands over the turmoil below the cooling calm of blue and silver. To this the eye, distracted with the dance of bobbins and the whirl of shafts, can turn for relief, even as Tubal Cain, pausing to wipe his brow, lifted his wearied gaze to the welkin.

Machinery Hall has illustrated, from its earliest days, the process of development by gemmation. Southward, toward the sun, it has shot forth several lusty sprouts. The hydraulic avenue which [pg 405] we have mentioned covers an acre, being two hundred and eight by two hundred and ten feet. Cheek by jowl with water is its neighbor fire, safe behind bars in the boiler-house of the big engine; and next branches out, over another acre and more, or forty-eight thousand square feet, the domain of shoes and leather under a roof of its own.

Including galleries and the leather, fire and water suburbs, this structure affords more than fifteen acres of space. Over that area it rose like an exhalation in the spring and early summer of 1875. At the close of winter it existed only in the drawings of Messrs. Pettit & Wilson. Under the hands of Mr. Philip Quigley it was ready to shelter a great Fourth of July demonstration. This matches the rapidity of growth of its neighbor before described. The Main Building, designed by the same firm, had its foundations laid by Mr. R.J. Dobbins, contractor, in the fall of 1874, but nothing further could be done till the following spring. The first column was erected, an iron Maypole, on the first day of the month of flowers, and the last on the 27th of October. Three weeks later the last girder was in place. All had been done with the precision of machinery, no pillar varying half an inch from its line. Machinery, indeed, rolled the quadrant-shaped sections of each column and riveted their flanges together with hydraulic hammers; great steam-derricks dropped each on its appointed seat; and the main tasks of manual labor in either building were painting, glazing, floor-laying and erecting the ground-wall of masonry, from five to seven feet high, that fills in the outer columns all round to a level with the heads of theorists who, holding that la propriété c'est le vol, assert the propriety of theft.

Following Belmont Avenue, the Appian Way of the Centennial, to the north-west, we penetrate a mob of edifices, fountains, restaurants, government offices, etc., and reach the Agricultural Building—the palace of the farmer. The hard fate of which he habitually complains—that of being thrust into a corner save when he is wanted for tax-paying purposes—does not forsake him here. The commission does not tax him, however, and the boreal region whereto he and his belongings are consigned is in no other way objectionable than as not being nearer the front. The building is worthy of a Centennial agricultural fair. Five hundred and forty by eight hundred and twenty feet, with ten acres and a quarter under roof, it equals the halls of a dozen State cattle-shows, The style is Gothic, the three transepts looking like those of as many cathedrals stripped of the roof, the extrados taking its place. The nave that spits them is a hundred and twenty-five feet wide, with an elevation of seventy-five feet. An ecclesiastical aspect is imparted by the great oriel over the main entrance, and the resemblance is aided by a central tower that suggests the "cymbals glorious swinging uproarious" in honor of the apotheosis of the plough. The materials of this bucolic temple are wood and glass. The contract price was $250,000. Its contents will be more cosmopolitan than could have been anticipated when it was planned. Germany claims five thousand feet and Spain six thousand. Among other countries, tropical America is fully represented.

Besides this indoor portion of the world's farm-steading, a barnyard of correspondent magnitude is close at hand, where all domestic animals will be accommodated, and the Weirs, Landseers and Bonheurs will find many novelties for the portfolio. A race-track, too, is an addendum of course. What would our Pan-Athenaic games be without it?

From this exhibition of man's power over the fruits of the earth and the beasts of the field we cross a ravine where the forest is allowed to disport itself in ignorance of his yoke, and ascend another eminence where floral beauty, gathered from all quarters of the globe, is fed in imprisonment on its native soil and breathes its native climate. We predict that woman will seek her home among the flowers on the hill rather than in the atelier specially prepared for her in the valley we have passed. Her tremendous struggles through the mud, while yet the grounds were all chaos, to get sight of [pg 406] the first plants that appeared in the Horticultural Building, left no doubt of this in our mind.


No site could have been more happily chosen for this beautiful congress-hall of flowers. It occupies a bluff that overlooks the Schuylkill a hundred feet below to the eastward, and is bounded by the deep channels of a pair of brooks equidistant on the north and south sides. Up the banks of these clamber the sturdy arboreal natives as though to shelter in warm embrace their delicate kindred from abroad. Broad walks and terraces prevent their too close approach and the consequent exclusion of sunlight.

For the expression of its purpose, with all the solidity and grace consistent with that, the Moresque structure before us is not excelled by any within the grounds. The curved roofs of the forcing-houses would have the effect upon the eye of weakening the base, but that, being of glass and showing the greenery within, their object explains itself at once, and we realize the strong wall rising behind them and supporting the lofty range of iron arches and fretwork that springs seventy-two feet to the central lantern. The design of the side portals and corner towers may be thought somewhat feeble. They and the base in its whole circuit might with advantage have been a little more emphasized by masonry. The porticoes or narrow verandahs above them on the second story are in fine taste. The eruption of flag-poles is, of course, a transient disease, peculiar to the season. They have no abiding-place on a permanent structure like this, and will disappear with the exposition.

Entering from the side by a neat flight of steps in dark marble, we find ourselves in a gayly-tiled vestibule thirty feet square, between forcing-houses each a hundred by thirty feet. Advancing, we enter the great conservatory, two hundred and thirty by eighty feet, and fifty-five high, much the largest in this country, and but a trifle inferior in height to the palm-houses of Chatsworth and Kew. A gallery twenty feet from the floor will carry us up among the dates and cocoanuts that are to be. The decorations of this hall are in keeping with the external design. The woodwork looks out of place amid so much of harder material; but there is not much of it.

Outside promenades, four in number and each a hundred feet long, lead along the roofs of the forcing-houses, and contribute to the portfolio of lovely views that enriches the Park. Other prospects are offered by the upper floors of the east [pg 407] and west fronts; the aërial terrace embracing in all seventeen thousand square feet. The extreme dimensions of the building are three hundred and eighty by one hundred and ninety-three feet. Restaurants, reception-rooms and offices occupy the two ends. The contractor who has performed his work so satisfactorily is Mr. John Rice.

A few years hence this winter-garden will, with one exception to which we next proceed, be the main attraction at the Park. It will by that time be effectively supplemented by thirty-five surrounding acres of out-door horticulture, to which the soil of decomposed gneiss is well suited.

Passing from the bloom of Nature, we complete our circuit with that which springs from the pencil, the chisel and the burin. Here we alight upon another instance of inadequate calculation. That the art-section of the exposition would fill a building three hundred and sixty-five by two hundred and ten feet, affording eighty-nine thousand square feet of wall-surface for pictures, must, when first proposed, have struck the most imaginative of the projectors as a dream. The actual result is that it proved indispensably necessary to provide an additional building of very nearly equal dimensions, or three hundred and forty-nine by a hundred and eighty-six feet, to receive the contributions offered; and this after the promulgation of a strict requirement that "all works of art must be of a high order of merit." Half the space in the extension had been claimed by Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and Italy before ground was broken for its foundation; and recent demands at home have rendered necessary a further projection of the wings, with the effect of giving to the building the form of a Greek cross.

This building is on the rear, or north side, of Memorial Hall, and is the first portion of the fine-art department that meets the eye of one coming from Horticultural Hall. It is of comparatively temporary character, being built of brick instead of the solid granite that composes the pile in front of it. Its architectural pretensions are of course inferior. It is the youngest of all the exposition buildings, the present spring witnessing its commencement and completion. The drying of such green walls in such manner as to render them safe for valuable pictures has been compassed by the use of "asbestos" brick, which is said to be fire- as well as water-proof. Failure in this regard would be of the less moment, inasmuch as a great proportion of the contents will be drawings and engravings. In interior plan the extension will closely imitate the main building.

Memorial Hall, as its name implies, contemplates indefinite durability. What Virginia and Massachusetts granite, in alliance with Pennsylvania iron, on a basis of a million and a half of dollars, can effect in that direction, seems to have been done. The façade, designed by Mr. Schwarzmann, is in ultra-Renaissance; the arch and balustrade and open arcade quite overpowering pillar and pediment. The square central tower, or what under a circular dome would be the drum, is quite in harmony with the main front so tar as proportion and outline are concerned; but there is too much blank surface on the sides to match the more "noisy" details below it. This apart, the unity of the building is very striking. That its object, of supplying the best light for pictures and statuary, is not lost sight of, is evidenced by the fact that three-fourths of the interior space is lighted from above, and the residue has an ample supply from lofty windows. The figures of America, Art, Science, etc. which stud the dome and parapet were built on the spot, and will do very well for the present. The eagles are too large in proportion, and could easily fly away with the allegorical damsels at their side.

The eight arched windows of the corner towers, twelve and a half by thirty-four feet, are utilized for art-display. Munich fills two with stained glass: England also claims a place in them. The iron doors of the front are inlaid with bronze panels bearing the insignia of the States; the artist prudently limiting himself to that modest range of subjects in recognition of the impossibility [pg 408] of eclipsing Ghiberti at six months' notice. Thirty years is not too much time to devote to completing the ornamentation of this building. Five, seven or ten millions of people will pass through it in the course of its first year, and among them will be some capable of making sound suggestions for its finish. The wisdom that comes from a multitude of counsels will remain to be sifted. Then will remain the creation of the artists who are to carry the counsels into execution. We shall be fortunate if the next three decades bring us men thoroughly equal to the task.


It would be an unpardonable neglect of the maxim which enjoins gratitude to the bridge that carries us safely over were we to complete our tour of the exposition structures without a glance at the graceful erections, diverse in magnitude and design, which overleap the depressions so attractive to the student of the picturesque and so trying to the pedestrian. The æsthetic capabilities of bridge architecture are very great, and a fine field is here offered for their display. The flat expanses of Hyde Park, the Champs de Mars and the Prater could afford no such exhibition. The ground and the buildings became, perforce, two sharply distinct things; and the blending into unity of landscape and architecture could be but imperfectly attained. Here the case is very different. With the aid of an art that embraces in its province alike the fairy trellis and the monumental arch and pilaster, the lines of Memorial Hall and other permanent edifices may be led over the three hundred acres appropriated to the exposition. From the foundation of a bridge-pier to the crowning statue of America, the artist finds an uninterrupted range.

The work of his foster-brother, the artisan, has certainly been well done. The structures we have been traversing are, in their way, works of art—very worthy, if not the choicest conceivable, blossoms of our century-plant. For fitness, the quality that underlies beauty throughout Nature from the plume to the tendril and the petal, they have not been surpassed in their kind. Every flange, bolt, sheet and abutment has been well thought out. Whatever the purpose, to bind or to brace, to lift or to support, everything tells.

[pg 409]



The Koutab Minar, which I had first viewed nine miles off from one of the little kiosquelets crowning the minarets of the Jammah Masjid, improved upon closer acquaintance. One recognizes in the word "minaret" the diminutive of "minar," the latter being to the former as a tower to a turret. This minar of Koutab's—it was erected by the Mussulman general Koutab-Oudeen-Eibeg in the year 1200 to commemorate his success over the Rajpút emperor Pirthi-Raj—is two hundred and twenty feet high, and the cunning architect who designed it managed to greatly intensify its suggestion of loftiness by its peculiar shape. Instead of erecting a shaft with unbroken lines, he placed five truncated cones one upon another in such a way that the impression of their successively lessening diameters should be lengthened by the four balconies which result from the projection of each lower cone beyond the narrower base of the cone placed on it—thus borrowing, as it were, the perspective effects of five shafts and concentrating them upon one. The lower portion, too, shows the near color of red—it is built of the universal red sandstone with which the traveler becomes so familiar—while the upper part reveals the farther color of white from its marble casing. Each cone, finally, is carved into reeds, like a bundle of buttresses supporting a weight enormous not by reason of massiveness, but of pure height.

The group of ruins about the Koutab Minar was also very fascinating to me. The Gate of Aladdin, a veritable fairy portal, with its bewildering wealth of arabesques and flowing traceries in white marble inlaid upon red stone; the Tomb of Altamsh; the Mosque of Koutab,—all these, lying in a singular oasis of trees and greenery that forms a unique spot in the arid and stony ruin-plain of Delhi, drew me with great power. I declared to Bhima Gandharva that it was not often in a lifetime that we could get so many centuries together to talk with at once, and wrought upon him to spend several days with me, unattended by servants, in this tranquil society of the dead ages, which still live by sheer force of the beautiful that was in them.

"Very pretty," said my companion, "but not by force of the beautiful alone. Do you see that iron pillar?" We were walking in the court of the Mosque of Koutab, and Bhima pointed, as he spoke, to a plain iron shaft about a foot in diameter rising in the centre of the enclosed space to a height of something over twenty feet. "Its base is sunken deeper in the ground than the upper part is high. It is in truth a gigantic nail, which, according to popular tradition, was constructed by an ancient king who desired to play Jael to a certain Sisera that was in his way. It is related that King Anang Pal was not satisfied with having conquered the whole of Northern India, and that a certain Brahman, artfully seizing upon the moment when his mind was foolish with the fumes of conquest, informed him there was but one obstacle to his acquisition of eternal power. 'What is that?' said King Anang Pal.—'It is,' said the Brahman, 'the serpent Sechnaga, who lies under the earth and stops it, and who at the same time has charge of Change and Revolution.—'Well, and what then?' said King Anang Pal.—'If the serpent were dead there would be no change,' said the Brahman.—'Well, and what then?' said King Anang Pal.—'If you should cause to be constructed a great nail of iron, I will show you a spot where it shall be driven so as to pierce the head of the serpent.' It was done; and the nail—being this column which you now contemplate—was duly driven. Then the Brahman departed from the court. Soon the king's mind began to work, to question, to doubt, to harass itself with a thousand [pg 410] speculations, until his curiosity was inflamed to such a degree that he ordered the nail to be drawn out. With great trouble and outlay this was done: slowly the heavy mass rose, while the anxious king regarded it. At last the lower end came to his view. Rama! it was covered with blood. 'Down with it again!' cries the joyful king: 'perhaps the serpent is not yet dead, and is escaping [pg 411] even now.' But, alas! it would not remain stable in any position, pack and shove howsoever they might. Then the wise Brahman returned. 'O king,' said he, in reply to the monarch's interrogatories, 'your curiosity has cost you your kingdom: the serpent has escaped. Nothing in the world can again give stability to the pillar or to your reign.' And it was true. Change still lived, and King Anang Pal, being up, quickly went down. It is from this pillar that yon same city gets its name. In the tongue of these people dilha is, being interpreted, 'tottering;' and hence Dilhi or Delhi. It must be confessed, however, that this is not the account which the iron pillar gives of itself, for the inscription there declares it to have been erected as a monument of victory by King Dhara in the year 317, and it is known as the Lâth (or pillar) of Dhara."


Next day we took train for Agra, which might be called Shah Jehan's "other city," for it was only after building the lovely monument to his queen—the Taj Mahal—which has made Agra famous all over the world, that he removed to Delhi, or that part of it known as Shahjehanabad. Agra, in fact, first attained its grandeur under Akbar, and is still known among the natives as Akbarabad.

"But I am all for Shah Jehan," I said as, after wandering about the great citadel and palace at the south of the city, we came out on the bank of the Jumna and started along the road which runs by the river to the Taj Mahal. "A prince in whose reign and under whose direct superintendence was fostered the style of architecture which produced that little Mouti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) which we saw a moment ago—not to speak of the Jammah Masjid of Delhi which we saw there, or of the Taj which we are now going to see—must have been a spacious-souled man, with frank and pure elevations of temper within him, like that exquisite white marble superstructure of the Mouti Masjid which rises from a terrace of rose, as if the glow of crude passion had thus lifted itself into the pure white of tried virtue."

A walk of a mile—during which my companion reviewed the uglinesses as well as the beauties of the great Mogol reign with a wise and impartial calmness that amounted to an affectionate rebuke of my inconsiderate effusiveness—brought us to the main gate of the long red stone enclosure about the Taj. This is itself a work of art—in red stone banded with white marble, surmounted by kiosques, and ornamented with mosaics in onyx and agate. But I stayed not to look at these, nor at the long sweep of the enclosure, crenellated and pavilioned. Hastening through the gate, and moving down a noble alley paved with freestone, surrounded on both sides with trees, rare plants and flowers, and having a basin running down its length studded with water-jets, I quickly found myself in front of that bewilderment of incrustations upon white marble which constitutes the visitor's first impression of this loveliest of Love's memorials.

I will not describe the Taj. This is not self-denial: the Taj cannot be described. One can, it is true, inform one's friends that the red stone platform upon which the white marble mausoleum stands runs some nine hundred and sixty feet east and west by three hundred and twenty north and south; that the dome is two hundred and seventy feet high; that the incrustations with which the whole superstructure is covered without and within are of rock-crystal, chalcedony, turquoise, lapis-lazuli, agate, carnaline, garnet, oynx, sapphire, coral, Pannah diamonds, jasper, and conglomerates, brought respectively from Malwa, Asia Minor, Thibet, Ceylon, Temen, Broach, Bundelcund, Persia, Colombo, Arabia, Pannah, the Panjab, and Jessalmir; that there are, besides the mausoleum, two exquisite mosques occupying angles of the enclosure, the one built because it is the Moslem custom to have a house of prayer near the tomb, the other because the architect's passion for symmetry demanded another to answer to the first, whence it is called Jawab ("the answer"); that out of a great convention of all the architects of the East one Isa (Jesus) Mohammed was chosen to build this monument, and that its erection [pg 412] employed twenty thousand men from 1630 to 1647, at a total cost of twelve millions of dollars; and, finally, that the remains of the beautiful queen variously known as Mumtazi Mahal, Mumtazi Zemani and Taj Bibi, as well as those of her royal husband, Shah Jehan, who built this tomb to her memory, repose here.


But this is not description. The only [pg 413] way to get an idea of the Taj Mahal is—to go and see it.

"But it is ten thousand miles!" you say.

"But it is the Taj Mahal," I reply with calmness. And no one who has seen the Taj will regard this answer as aught but conclusive.

But we had to leave it finally—it and Agra—and after a railway journey of some twelve hours, as we were nearing Allahabad my companion began, in accordance with his custom, to give me a little preliminary view of the peculiarities of the town.

"We are now approaching," he said, "a city which distinguishes itself from those which you have seen by the fact that besides a very rich past it has also a very bright future. It is situated at the southern point of the Lower Doab, whose fertile and richly-cultivated plains you have been looking at to-day. These plains, with their wealth, converge to a point at Allahabad, narrowing with the approach of the two rivers,—the Ganges and the Jumna—that enclose them. The Doab, in fact, derives its name from do, "two," and ab, "rivers." But Allahabad, besides being situated at the junction of the two great water-ways of India—for here the Jumna unites with the Ganges—is also equally distant from the great extremes of Bombay, Calcutta, and Lahore, and here centres the railway system which unites these widely-separated points. Add to this singular union of commercial advantages the circumstance—so important in an India controlled by Englishmen—that the climate, though warm, is perfectly wholesome, and you will see that Allahabad must soon be a great emporium of trade."

"Provided," I suggested, "Benares yonder—Benares is too close by to feel uninterested—will let it be so."

"Oh! Benares is the holy city. Benares is the blind Teiresias of India: it has beheld the Divine Form, and in this eternal grace its eyes have even lost the power of seeing those practical advancements which usually allure the endeavors of large cities. Allahabad, although antique and holy also, has never become so wrapped up in religious absorption."

On the day after our arrival my companion and I were driven by an English friend engaged in the cultivation of indigo to an indigo-factory near the town, in compliance with a desire I had expressed to witness the process of preparing the dye for market.

"Not long ago," I said to our friend as we were rolling out of the city, "I was wandering along the banks of that great lagoon of Florida which is called the Indian River, and my attention was often attracted to the evidences of extensive cultivation which everywhere abounded. Great ditches, growths of young forests upon what had evidently been well-ploughed fields within a century past, and various remains of settlements constantly revealed themselves. On inquiry I learned that these were the remains of those great proprietary indigo-plantations which were cultivated here by English grantees soon after Florida first came under English protection, and which were afterward mournfully abandoned to ruin upon the sudden recession of Florida by the English government."

"They are ruins of interest to me," said our English friend, "for one of them—perhaps some one that you beheld—represents the wreck of my great-great-grandfather's fortune. He could not bear to stay among the dreadful Spaniards and Indians; and so, there being nobody to sell to, he simply abandoned homestead, plantations and all, and returned to England, and, finding soon afterward that the East India Company was earnestly bent upon fostering the indigo-culture of India, he came here and recommenced planting. Since then we've all been indigo-planters—genuine 'blue blood,' we call ourselves."

Indigo itself had a very arduous series of toils to encounter before it could manage to assert itself in the world. The ardent advocates of its azure rival, woad, struggled long before they would allow its adoption. In 1577 the German government officially prohibited the use of indigo, denouncing it as that pernicious, deceitful and corrosive substance, the Devil's dye. It had, indeed, a worse fate in England, where hard names were [pg 414] supplemented by harsh acts, for in 1581 it was not only pronounced anathema maranatha by act of Parliament, but the people were authorized to institute search for it in their neighbors' dye-houses, and were empowered to destroy it wherever found. Not more than two hundred years have passed since this law was still in force. It was only after a determined effort, which involved steady losses for [pg 415] many years, that the East India Company succeeded in re-establishing the culture of indigo in Bengal. The Spanish and French in Central America and the West Indies had come to be large growers, and the production of St. Domingo was very large. But the revolt in the latter island, the Florida disasters and the continual unsettlement of Mexico, all worked favorably for the planters of India, who may now be called the indigo-producers of the world.


The seed is usually sown in the latter part of October in Bengal, as soon as the annual deposit of the streams has been reduced by drainage to a practicable consistency, though the sowing-season lasts quite on to the end of November. On dry ground the plough is used, the ryots, or native farm-laborers, usually planting under directions proceeding from the factory. There are two processes of extracting the dye, known as the method "from fresh leaves" and that "from dry leaves." I found them here manufacturing by the former process. The vats or cisterns of stone were in pairs, the bottom of the upper one of each couple being about on a level with the top of the lower, so as to allow the liquid contents of the former to run freely into the latter. The upper is the fermenting vat, or "steeper," and is about twenty feet square by three deep. The lower is the "beater," and is of much the same dimensions with the upper, except that its length is five or six feet greater. As the twigs and leaves of the plants are brought in from the fields the cuttings are placed in layers in the steeper, logs of wood secured by bamboo withes are placed upon the surface to prevent overswelling, and water is then pumped on or poured from buckets to within a few inches of the top. Fermentation now commences, and continues for fourteen or fifteen hours, varying with the temperature of the air, the wind, the nature of the water used and the ripeness of the plants. When the agitation of the mass has begun to subside the liquor is racked off into the lower vat, the "beater," and ten men set to work lustily beating it with paddles (busquets), though this is sometimes done by wheels armed with paddle-like appendages. Meanwhile, the upper vat is cleaned out, and the refuse mass of cuttings stored up to be used as fuel or as fertilizing material. After an hour and a half's vigorous beating the liquor becomes flocculent. The precipitation is sometimes hastened by lime-water. The liquor is then drained off the dye by the use of filtering-cloths, heat being also employed to drain off the yellow matter and to deepen the color. Then the residuum is pressed in bags, cut into three-inch cubes, dried in the drying-house and sent to market.

The dry-leaf process depends also upon maceration, the leaves being cropped from the ripe plant, and dried in the hot sunshine during two days, from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon.

On the next day, at an early hour in the morning, my companion and I betook us to the Plain of Alms. I have before mentioned that Allahabad, the ancient city of Prayaga, is doubly sanctified because it is at the junction of the Jumna and the Gauges, and these two streams are affluents of its sanctity as well as of its trade. The great plain of white sand which is enclosed between the blue lake-like expanses of the two meeting rivers is the Plain of Alms. In truth, there are three rivers which unite here—the Ganges, the Jumna and the Saravasti—and this thrice-hallowed spot is known in the Hindu mythologic system as the Triveni.

"But where is the third?" I asked as we stood gazing across the unearthly-looking reaches of white sand far down the blue sweep of the mysterious waters.

"Thereby hangs a tale," replied my companion. "It is invisible here, but I will show you what remains of it presently when we get into the fort. Here is a crowd of pilgrims coming to bathe in the purifying waters of the confluence: let us follow them."

As they reached the shore a Brahman left his position under a great parasol and placed himself in front of the troop of believers, who, without regard to sex, [pg 416] immediately divested themselves of all clothing except a narrow cloth about the loins, and followed him into the water. Here they proceeded to imitate his motions, just as pupils in a calisthenic class follow the movements of their teacher, until the ceremonies of purification were all accomplished.


"A most villainous-faced penitent!" I exclaimed as one of their number came [pg 417] out, and, as if wearied by his exertions, lay down near us on the sand.

Bhima Gandharva showed his teeth: "He is what your American soldiers called in the late war a substitute. Some rich Hindu, off somewhere in India, has found the burden of his sins pressing heavily upon him, while at the same time the cares of this world, or maybe bodily infirmities, prevent him from visiting the Triveni. Hence, by the most natural arrangement in the world, he has hired this man to come in his place and accomplish his absolution for him."

Striking off to the westward from the Plain of Alms, we soon entered the citadel of Akbar, which he built so as to command the junction of the two streams. Passing the Lâth (pillar) of Asoka, my companion led me down into the old subterranean Buddhistic temple of Patal Pouri and showed me the ancient Achaya Bat, or sacred tree-trunk, which its custodians declare to be still living, although more than two thousand years old. Presently we came to a spot under one of the citadel towers where a feeble ooze of water appeared.

"Behold," said my friend, "the third of the Triveni rivers! This is the river Saravasti. You must know that once upon a time, Saravasti, goddess of learning, was tripping along fresh from the hills to the west of Yamuna (the Jumna), bearing in her hand a book. Presently she entered the sandy country, when on a sudden a great press of frightful demons uprose, and so terrified her that in the absence of other refuge she sank into the earth. Here she reappears. So the Hindus fable."

On our return to our quarters we passed a verandah where an old pedagogue was teaching a lot of young Mussulmans the accidence of Oordoo, a process which he accomplished much as the "singing geography" man used to impart instruction in the olden days when I was a boy—to wit, by causing the pupils to sing in unison the A, B, C. Occasionally, too, the little, queer-looking chaps squatted tailor-wise on the floor would take a turn at writing the Arabic character on their slates. A friendly hookah in the midst of the group betrayed the manner in which the wise man solaced the labors of education.

On the next day, as our indigo-planter came to drive us to the Gardens of Chusru, he said, "An English friend of mine who is living in the Moffussil—the Moffussil is anywhere not in Calcutta, Bombay or Madras—not far from Patna has just written me that word has been brought from one of the Sontal villages concerning the depredations of a tiger from which the inhabitants have recently suffered, and that a grand hunt, elephant-back, has been organized through the combined contributions of the English and native elephant-owners. He presses me to come, and as an affair of this sort is by no means common—for it is no easy matter to get together and support a dozen elephants and the army of retainers considered necessary in a great hunt—I thought perhaps you would be glad to accompany me."

Of course I was; and Bhima Gandharva, though he would not take any active part in the hunt, insisted upon going along in order to see that no harm came to me.

On the next day, therefore, we all took train and fared south-eastward toward Calcutta, as far as to Bhagalpur, where we left the railway, sending our baggage on to Calcutta, and took private conveyance to a certain spot among the Rajmahal Mountains, where the camp had been fixed by retainers on the day before. It was near a village of the Sontals, which we passed before reaching it, and which was a singular-enough spectacle with its round roofed huts and a platform at its entrance, upon which, and under which, were ghastly heaps of the skulls of animals slain by the villagers. These Sontals reminded me of the Gónds whom I had seen, though they seemed to be far manlier representatives of the autochthonal races of India than the former. They are said to number about a million, and inhabit a belt of country some four hundred miles long by one hundred broad, including the Rajmahal Mountains, and extending from near the Bay of Bengal to the edge of Behar. So [pg 418] little have they been known that when in the year 1855 word was brought to Calcutta that the Sontals had risen and were murdering the Europeans, many of the English are said to have asked not only Who are the Sontals? but What are the Sontals?

The more inaccessible tops of the same mountains, the Rajmahal, are occupied by a much ruder set of people, the Mâlers, who appear to have been pushed up here by the Sontals, as the Sontals were themselves pressed by the incoming Aryans.


As we arrived at the camp I realized the words of our English friend concerning the magnitude of the preparations for a tiger-hunt undertaken on the present scale. The tents of the sportsmen, among whom were several English army officers and civil officials, besides a native rajah, were pitched in a beautiful glade canopied by large trees, and near these were the cooking-tents and the lodging-places of the servants, of whom there was the liberal allowance which is customary in India. Through the great tree-trunks I could see elephants, camels and horses tethered about the outskirts of the camp, while the carts, elephant-pads and other impedimenta lying about gave the whole the appearance of an army at bivouac. Indeed, it was not an inconsiderable force that we could have mustered. There were fifteen or twenty elephants in the party. Every elephant had two men, the mahaut and his assistant; every two camels, one man; every cart, two men; besides whom were the kholassies (tent-pitchers), the chikarries (native huntsmen to mark down and flush the tiger), letter-carriers for the official personages, and finally the personal servants of the party, amounting in all to something like a hundred and fifty souls. The commissary arrangements of such a body of men and beasts were no light matter, and had on this occasion been placed by contract in the hands of a flour-and-grain merchant from Patna. As night drew on the scene became striking in the extreme, and I do not think I felt the fact of India more keenly at any time than while Bhima [pg 419] Gandharva and I, slipping away from a party who were making merry over vast allowances of pale ale and cheroots, went wandering about under the stars and green leaves, picking our way among the huge forms of the mild-countenanced elephants and the bizarre figures of the camels.


On the next day, after a leisurely breakfast at eight—the hunt was to begin at midday—my kind host assigned me an elephant, and his servants proceeded to equip me for the hunt, placing in my howdah brandy, cold tea, cheroots, a rifle, a smooth-bore, ammunition, an umbrella, and finally a blanket.

"And what is the blanket for?" I asked.

"For the wild-bees; and if your elephant happens to stir up a nest of them, the very best thing in the world you can do is to throw it incontinently over your head," added my host, laughing.

The tiger had been marked down in a spot some three miles from camp, and when our battle-array, which had at first taken up the line of march in a very cozy and gentleman-militia sort of independence, had arrived within a mile of our destination the leader who had been selected to direct our movements caused us all to assume more systematic dispositions, issued orders forbidding a shot to be fired at any sort of game, no matter how tempting, less than the royal object of our chase, and then led the way down the glade, which now began to spread out into lower and wetter ground covered by tall grasses and thickets. The hunt now began in earnest. Hot, flushed, scratched as to the face by the tall reeds, rolling on my ungainly animal's back as if I were hunting in an open boat on a chopping sea, I had the additional nervous distraction of seeing many sorts of game—deer, wild-hogs, peafowl, partridges—careering about in the most exasperating manner immediately under my gun-muzzle. To add to my dissatisfaction, presently I saw a wild-hog dash out of a thicket with her young litter immediately across our path, and as my elephant stepped excitedly along one of his big fore feet crunched directly down on a beautiful little pig, bringing a quickly-smothered squeak which made me quite cower before the [pg 420] eye of Bhima Gandharva as he stood looking calmly forward beside me. So we tramped on through the thickets and grasses. An hour passed; the deployed huntsmen had again drawn in together, somewhat bored; we were all red-faced and twig-tattooed; no tiger was to be found; we gathered into a sort of circle and were looking at each other with that half-foolish, half-mad disconsolateness [pg 421] which men's faces show when they are unsuccessfully engaged in a matter which does not amount to much even after it is successfully achieved,—when suddenly my elephant flourished his trunk, uttered a shrill trumpeting sound, and dashed violently to one side, just as I saw a grand tiger, whose coat seemed to be all alive with throbbing spots, flying through the air past me to the haunches of the less wary elephant beside which mine had been walking. Instantly the whole party was in commotion. "Bagh! bagh!" yelled the mahauts and attendants: the elephants trumpeted and charged hither and thither. The tiger seemed to become fairly insane under the fusillade which greeted him; he leapt so desperately from one side to the other as to appear for a few moments almost ubiquitous, while at every discharge the frantic natives screamed "Lugga! lugga!" without in the least knowing whether he was hit (lugga) or not, till presently, when I supposed he must have received at least forty shots in his body, he fell back from a desperate attempt to scale the back of the rajah's elephant, and lay quite still.


"I thought that last shot of mine would finish him," said one of the English civil officials as we all crowded around the magnificent beast.

"Whether it did or not, I distinctly saw him cringe at my shot," hotly said another. "There's always a peculiar look a tiger has when he gets his death-wound: it's unmistakable when you once know it."

"And I'll engage to eat him," interjected a third, "if I didn't blow off the whole side of his face with my smooth-bore when he stuck his muzzle up into my howdah."

"Gentlemen," said our leader, a cool and model old hunter, "the shortest way to settle who is the owner of this tiger-skin is to examine the perforations in it."

Which we all accordingly fell to doing.

"B——, I'm afraid you've a heavy meal ahead of you: his muzzle is as guiltless of harm as a baby's," said one of the claimants.

"Well," retorted B——, "but I don't see any sign of that big bore of yours, either."

"By Jove!" said the leader in some astonishment as our search proceeded unsuccessfully, "has anybody hit him? Maybe he died of fright."

At this moment Bhima Gandharva calmly advanced, lifted up the great fore leg of the tiger and showed us a small blue hole just underneath it: at the same time he felt along the tiger's skin on the opposite side to the hole, rolled the bullet about under the cuticle where it had lodged after passing through the animal, and deftly making an incision with his knife drew it forth betwixt his thumb and finger. He handed it to the gentleman whose guests we were, and to whom the rifle belonged which had been placed in our howdah, and then modestly withdrew from the circle.

"There isn't another rifle in camp that carries so small a bullet," said our host, holding up the ball, "and there can't be the least doubt that the Hindu is the man who killed him."

Not another bullet-hole was to be found.

"When did you do it?" I asked of Bhima. "I knew not that you had fired at all."

"When he made his first leap from the thicket," he said quietly. "I feared he was going to land directly on you. The shot turned him."

At this the three discomfited claimants of the tiger-skin (which belongs to him who kills) with the heartiest English good-nature burst into roars of laughter, each at himself as well as the others, and warmly shook Bhima's hand amid a general outbreak of applause from the whole company.

Then amid a thousand jokes the tiffin-baskets were brought out, and we had a royal lunch while the tiger was "padded"—i.e., placed on one of the unoccupied elephants; and finally we got us back to camp, where the rest of the day was devoted to dinner and cheroots.

From the tiger to the town, from the cries of jackals to those of street-venders,—this is an easy transition in India; and it was only the late afternoon of the [pg 422] second day after the tiger-hunt when my companion and I were strolling along the magnificent Esplanade of Calcutta, having cut across the mountains, elephant-back, early in the morning to a station where we caught the down-train.


Solidity, wealth, trade, ponderous ledgers, capacious ships' bottoms, merchandise transformed to magnificence, an ample-stomached bourgeoisie,—this is what comes to one's mind as one faces the broad walk in front of Fort William and looks across the open space to the palaces, the domes, the columns of modern and English Calcutta; or again as one wanders along the strand in the evening when the aristocrats of commerce do congregate, and, as it were, gazette the lengths of their bank-balances in the glitter of their equipages and appointments; or again as one strolls about the great public gardens or the amplitudes of Tank Square, whose great tank of water suggests the luxury of the dwellers hereabout; or the numerous other paths of comfort which are kept so by constant lustrations from the skins of the water-bearers. The whole situation seems that of ease and indulgence. The very circular verandahs of the rich men's dwellings expand like the ample vests of trustees and directors after dinner. The city extends some four and a half miles along the left bank of the Hooghly, and its breadth between the "Circular Road" and the river is about a mile and a half. If one cuts off from this space that part which lies south of a line drawn eastward from the Beebee Ross Ghât to the Upper Circular Road—the northern portion thus segregated being the native town—one has a veritable city of palaces; and when to these one adds the magnificent suburbs lying beyond the old circumvallation of the "Mahratta Ditch"—Chitpore, Nundenbagh, Bobar, Simla, Sealdah, Entally, Ballygunge, Bhovaneepore, Allypore, Kidderpore—together with the riverward-sloping lawns and stately mansions of "Garden Reach" on the sea-side of town, and the great dockyards and warehouses of the right bank of the river opposite the city, one has enclosed a space which may probably [pg 423] vie with any similar one in the world for the appearances and the realities of wealth within it.

But if one should allow this first impression of Calcutta—an impression in which good eating and the general pampering of the flesh seem to be the most prominent features—to lead one into the belief that here is nothing but money-making and grossness, one would commit a serious mistake. It is among the rich babous, or commercial natives, of Calcutta that the remarkable reformatory movement known as "Young India" has had its origin, and it would really seem that the very same qualities of patience, of prudence, of foresight and of good sense which have helped these babous to accumulate their wealth are now about being applied to the nobler and far more difficult work of lifting their countrymen out of the degradations of old outworn customs and faiths upon some higher plane of reasonable behavior.

"In truth," said Bhima Gandharva to me one day as were taking our customary stroll along the Esplanade, "you have now been from the west of this country to the east of it. You have seen the Past of India: I wish that you may have at least a glimpse of its Future. Here comes a young babou of my acquaintance, to whom I will make you known. He is an enthusiastic member of 'Young India:' he has received a liberal education at one of the numerous schools which his order has so liberally founded in modern years, and you will, I am convinced, be pleased with the wisdom and moderation of his sentiments."

Just as I was reaching out my hand to take that of the babou, in compliance with Bhima's introduction, an enormous adjutant—one of the great pouched cranes (arghilahs) that stalk about Calcutta under protection of the law, and do much of the scavenger-work of the city—walked directly between us, eyeing each of us with his red round eyes in a manner so ludicrous that we all broke forth in a fit of laughter that lasted for several minutes, while the ungainly bird stalked away with much the stolid air of one who has seen something whereof he thinks but little.

The babou addressed me in excellent English, and after some preliminary inquiries as to my stay in Calcutta, accompanied by hospitable invitations, he gradually began, in response to my evident desire, to talk of the hopes and fears of the new party.

"It is our great misfortune," said he, "that we have here to do with that portion of my countrymen which is perhaps most deeply sunk in the mire of ancient custom. We have begun by unhesitatingly leading in the front ourselves whenever any disagreeable consequences are to be borne by reason of our infringement of the old customs. Take, for example, the problem of the peculiar position of women among the Hindus. Perhaps"—and here the babou's voice grew very grave and earnest—"the human imagination is incapable of conceiving a lot more wretched than that of the Hindu widow. By immemorial tradition she could escape it only through the flames of the satti, the funeral-pile upon which she could burn herself with the dead body of her husband. But the satti is now prohibited by the English law, and the poor woman who loses her husband is, according to custom, stripped of her clothing, arrayed in coarse garments and doomed thenceforth to perform the most menial offices of the family for the remainder of her life, as one accursed beyond redemption. To marry again is impossible: the man who marries a widow suffers punishments which no one who has not lived under the traditions of caste can possibly comprehend. The wretched widow has not even the consolations which come from books: the decent Hindu woman does not know how to read or write. There was still one avenue of escape from this life. She might have become a nautchni. What wonder that there are so many of these? How, then, to deal with this fatal superstition, or rather conglomerate of superstitions, which seems to suffer no more from attack than a shadow? We have begun the revolution by marrying widows just as girls are married, and by [pg 424] showing that the loss of caste—which indeed we have quite abolished among ourselves—entails necessarily none of those miserable consequences which the priests have denounced; and we strike still more deeply at the root of the trouble by instituting schools where our own daughters, and all others whom we can prevail upon to send, are educated with the utmost care. In our religion we [pg 425] retain Brahma—by whom we mean the one supreme God of all—and abolish all notions of the saving efficacy of merely ceremonial observances, holding that God has given to man the choice of right and wrong, and the dignity of exercising his powers in such accordance with his convictions as shall secure his eternal happiness. To these cardinal principles we subjoin the most unlimited toleration for other religions, recognizing in its fullest extent the law of the adaptation of the forms of relief to the varying moulds of character resulting from race, climate and all those great conditions of existence which differentiate men one from another."


"How," I asked, "do the efforts of the Christian missionaries comport with your own sect's?"

"Substantially, we work together. With the sincerest good wishes for their success—for every sensible man must hail any influence which instills a single new idea into the wretched Bengalee of low condition—I am yet free to acknowledge that I do not expect the missionaries to make many converts satisfactory to themselves, for I am inclined to think them not fully aware of the fact that in importing Christianity among the Hindus they have not only brought the doctrine, but they have brought the Western form of it, and I fear that they do not recognize how much of the nature of substance this matter of form becomes when one is attempting to put new wine into old bottles. Nevertheless, God speed them! I say. We are all full of hope. Signs of the day meet us everywhere. It is true that still, if you put yourself on the route to Orissa, you will meet thousands of pilgrims who are going to the temple at Jaghernâth (what your Sunday-school books call Juggernaut) for the purpose of worshiping the hideous idols which it contains; and although the English policemen accompany the procession of the Rattjattra—when the idol is drawn on the monstrous car by the frenzied crowd of fanatics—and enforce the law which now forbids the poor insane devotees from casting themselves beneath the fatal wheels, still, it cannot be denied that the devotees are there, nor that Jaghernâth is still the Mecca of millions of debased worshipers. It is also true that the pretended exhibitions of the tooth of Buddha can still inspire an ignorant multitude of people to place themselves in adoring procession and to debase themselves with the absurd rites of frenzy and unreason. Nor do I forget the fact that my countrymen are broken up into hundreds of sects, and their language frittered into hundreds of dialects. Yet, as I said, we are full of hope, and there can be no man so bold as to limit the capabilities of that blood which flows in English veins as well as in Hindu. Somehow or other, India is now not so gloomy a topic to read of or to talk of as it used to be. The recent investigations of Indian religion and philosophy have set many European minds upon trains of thought which are full of novelty and of promise. India is not the only land—you who are from America know it full well—where the current orthodoxy has become wholly unsatisfactory to many of the soberest and most practically earnest men; and I please myself with believing that it is now not wholly extravagant to speak of a time when these two hundred millions of industrious, patient, mild-hearted, yet mistaken Hindus may be found leaping joyfully forward out of their old shackles toward the larger purposes which reveal themselves in the light of progress."

At the close of our conversation, which was long and to me intensely interesting, the babou informed us that he had recently become interested with a company of Englishmen in reclaiming one of the numerous and hitherto wholly unused islands in the Sunderbunds for the purpose of devoting it to the culture of rice and sugar-cane, and that if we cared to penetrate some of the wildest and most picturesque portions of that strange region he would be glad to place at our disposal one of the boats of the company, which we would find lying at Port Canning. I eagerly accepted the proposition; and on the next day, taking the short railway which connects Calcutta and Port Canning, we quickly arrived at the latter [pg 426] point, and proceeded to bestow ourselves comfortably in the boat for a lazy voyage along the winding streams and canals which intersect the great marshes. It was not long after leaving Port Canning ere we were in the midst of the aquatic plants, the adjutants, the herons, the thousand sorts of water-birds, the crocodiles, which here abound.


The Sunderbunds—as the natives term [pg 427] that alluvial region which terminates the delta of the Ganges—can scarcely be considered either land or sea, but rather a multitudinous reticulation of streams, the meshes of which are represented by islands in all the various stages of consistency between water and dry land. Sometimes we floated along the lovely curves of canals which flowed underneath ravishing arches formed by the meeting overhead of great trees which leaned to each other from either bank; while again our course led us between shores which were mere plaits and interweavings of the long stems and broad leaves of gigantic water-plants. The islands were but little inhabited, and the few denizens we saw were engaged either in fishing or in the manufacture of salt from the brackish water. Once we landed at a collection of huts where were quartered the laborers of another company which had been successfully engaged in prosecuting the same experiment of rice-culture which our friend had just undertaken. It was just at the time when the laborers were coming in from the fields. The wife of the one to whose hut my curiosity led me had prepared his evening meal of rice and curry, and he was just sitting down to it as I approached. With incredible deftness he mingled the curry and the rice together—he had no knife, fork or spoon—by using the end-joints of his thumb and fingers: then, when he had sufficiently amalgamated the mass, he rolled up a little ball of it, placed the ball upon his crooked thumb as a boy does a marble, and shot it into his mouth without losing a grain. Thus he despatched his meal, and I could not but marvel at the neatness and dexterity which he displayed, with scarcely more need of a finger-bowl at the end than the most delicate feeder you shall see at Delmonico's.

The crops raised upon the rich alluvium of these islands were enormous, and if the other difficulties attending cultivation in such a region could be surmounted, there seemed to be no doubt of our friend the babou's success in his venture. But it was a wild and lonesome region, and as we floated along, after leaving the island, up a canal which flamed in the sunset like a great illuminated baldric slanting across the enormous shoulder of the world, a little air came breathing over me as if it had just blown from the mysterious regions where space and time are not, or are in different forms from those we know. A sense of the crudity of these great expanses of sea-becoming-land took possession of me; the horizon stretched away like a mere endless continuation of marshes and streams; the face of my companion was turned off sea-ward with an expression of ineffably mellow tranquillity; a glamour came about as if the world were again formless and void, and as if the marshes were chaos. I shivered with a certain eager expectation of beholding the shadowy outline of a great and beautiful spirit moving over the face of the waters to create a new world. I drew my gaze with difficulty from the heavens and turned toward my companion.

He was gone. The sailors also had disappeared.

And there, as I sat in that open boat, midst of the Sunderbunds, at my domestic antipodes, happened to me the most wondrous transformation which the tricksy stage-carpenters and scene-shifters of the brain have ever devised. For this same far-stretching horizon, which had just been alluring my soul into the depths of the creative period, suddenly contracted itself four-square into the somewhat yellowed walls of a certain apartment which I need not now further designate, and the sun and his flaming clouds became no more nor less than a certain half dozen of commonplace pictures upon these same yellowish walls; and the boat wherefrom I was about to view the birth of continents degraded itself into a certain—or, I had more accurately said, a very uncertain—cane chair, wherein I sit writing these lines and mourning for my lost Bhima Gandharva.

[pg 428]


The most marked trait in American college life is its spirit of caste. This same spirit, it is true, manifests itself in other lands—in England, France and Germany. In fact, it reached its extreme development in the last-named country: the very term Philistia is of German coinage. The causes that originated and kept alive this spirit in Europe are obvious. During the Middle Ages students enjoyed privileges such as made them, in the strictest legal sense, a distinct class. Thus, they had the right to wear side-arms, and had their own courts of justice. Some of these privileges have survived, in England and Germany at least, to the present day. Yet even in Germany the old student spirit is evidently on the wane, and is doomed to extinction at a day not far distant. In America, on the contrary, where like causes have never operated, the spirit exists in force. It is due to peculiar causes—to college life, to locality and to the mode of teaching.

The tendency to monkish seclusion lingers in England and America, the lands that have led the van in political and social progress. The motives that urged the monks of the olden time to turn their backs upon the world and bury themselves in cloisters were praiseworthy: but for such havens of peace, letters might have perished. When the Reformation was carried out in England, and the sequestration of Church property left immense convents idle, it was only natural that the newly-established colleges and halls should convert the buildings to their own uses. The dormitory system of Oxford and Cambridge, accordingly, has an historic right of being; and, growing by natural laws, it has become so rooted in the national life that nothing short of a political revolution, greater even than that of the seventeenth century, could eradicate it. The founders of our earliest colleges were governed by the desire to make them conform as closely as might be to the English model. There is scarcely the trace of a disposition to look to the institutions of continental Europe for guidance. This was a matter of course. The founders of our colleges and the men whom they selected to be teachers were Englishmen by descent or by education, trained after the English fashion—seeking freedom in America, yet at heart sympathizing with English thought, English habits and English prejudices. Hence the establishment of our dormitory system—not at once nor in all the fullness of a system. The colleges were at first little more than schools. The scholars boarded with the professors: there were no funds for the erection of separate buildings. But soon we see the evidences of a persistent effort to make each college an embryonic Oxford or Cambridge. Harvard, Yale and Princeton before completing the first half century of existence were committed to the dormitory system. Other colleges have followed the example thus set. The exceptions are too few to need enumeration.

The mildest judgment that can be passed upon the system is that it has cost us dear. Were all the figures accurately ascertained and summed up, were we able to see at a glance all the money that has been expended for land and brick and mortar by the hundreds of colleges between Maine and California, even such an aggregate, startling enough in itself, would fail to reveal the whole truth. We should have to go behind the figures—to consider what might have been effected by a more judicious investment of those millions—how many professorships might have been permanently established, how many small colleges, now dragging out a sickly existence, too poor to live, too good to die, might have become vigorous branches in the tree of knowledge. What have we in return for the outlay? A series of structures concerning which [pg 429] the most ardent friend of the system cannot but admit that they are inelegant, uninspiring and unpractical. Some of the newer dormitories at Harvard and Yale, it is true, are decided improvements. They are well built and supplied with many conveniences that will serve to make student life less heathenish. But they can scarcely be called beautiful, and they certainly are not inspiring. The heart of the student or the visitor at Oxford swells within him at the sight of the grand architecture, the brilliant windows, the velvet turf. It is pardonable in us to wish for ourselves a like refining beauty. But is it not becoming in us to confess, without repining, that we cannot realize the wish? Oxford is not merely the growth of ages: it is the product of certain peculiar ages which have gone. Men build now for practical purposes, not for the glorification of architecture. The spirit of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance will probably never return, or, if it should, it will come as a folk-spirit, neither springing from nor governed by the colleges, but carrying them along with it. Hence, our colleges may content themselves with playing a less ostentatious part, and the most zealous alumnus need not think less of his alma mater for observing her limitations.

We are not concerned with the dormitory system in all its bearings, but only in so far as it directly affects the student. The fact is significant that a large majority of our collegians pass their term of four years, vacations excepted, in practical seclusion. They are gathered in large numbers in dingy and untidy caravanseries, where the youthful spirit is unchecked by the usual obligations to respect private property and individual quiet. President Porter, in his work on The American Colleges, endeavors to prove that the dormitory system is, upon the whole, favorable to discipline. The facts are against his argument. The evils of student life are two—vice and disorder. So far as the former is concerned, no system has succeeded, or will ever succeed, in extirpating it. Vice may be punished, but it is too deeply rooted in human nature to be wholly cured. Its predominating forms are drinking and gambling, neither of which is checked by the dormitory system. At Oxford, for instance, both these vices prevail despite the most elaborate system of gates and night-patrols. Our college faculties must perforce content themselves with detecting vice, and punishing it when detected. The most satisfactory and appropriate means of detection is to watch closely the way in which the student performs his college duties. No man can waste his time over cards or the bottle without betraying his dissipation in the recitation-room. Here, and not in the dormitory, is the professor's hold upon the student. The dormitory system, so far from restraining, rather tends to diffuse vice and render its practice easy.

Disorder is different from vice. The latter, the doing of things wrong in themselves or made wrong by force of opinion, shuns observation: the former courts it. The disorderly act is in many instances harmless enough in itself, and the evil lies in doing it in an improper place and at an improper time. Hence it is that good students, who would scorn to stoop to vice, so often suffer themselves to be led to the commission of an act of disorder. We may even go to the extent of admitting that occasionally college disorder is not without a certain color of reason. It is the youthful way of resenting a real or an imaginary grievance. When a class discovers that it or some of its members have been treated too severely, according to its standard, by a certain professor, what more natural than to create a disturbance in the recitation-room or in public? In itself considered, the act is a youthful ebullition, and we might be tempted at first to look upon it as something venial and pass it by in silence. Reflection, however, should lead us to the opposite conclusion. There is nothing that a college faculty cannot afford to pardon sooner than disorder. The reason is almost self-evident. There is nothing that ruins so effectually the general tone of the college and demoralizes all the students, good and bad. Vice moves in [pg 430] rather narrow circles—much more narrow than those in authority are apt to perceive. It does not affect the great body of students, who are filled with robust life, and whose very faults are conceits and extravagances rather than misdeeds. But disorder spreads from one to another: originating with the morally perverse, it gathers sufficient volume and momentum to overpower at times even the very best. To protect the better class of students, then, were there no other reason, the faculty is bound to interfere energetically and in season. Its position is not unlike that of the commander of a regiment. The colonel will not unfrequently wink at a certain amount of dissipation among the officers, and even among the privates. He may say to himself that the offence is one hard to prove, that perhaps it will wear itself out in time, that perhaps it is best not to draw the reigns too tightly. But no commanding officer can afford to tolerate for an instant the slightest movement of insubordination. He must put it down on the spot, without regard to consequences, and without stopping to inquire into abstract questions of right and wrong. No one, of course, will assert that the head of a college is to act according to the military code. The differences between soldier life and college life are fundamental. Yet there are certain resemblances which prompt and justify the wish that a touch at least of the military spirit might be infused into our colleges. The spirit, be it carefully observed, and not the forms, for the incompatibility between the military and the literary-scientific methods has been demonstrated repeatedly, the most recent evidence being furnished by those colleges that have attempted to combine, under the terms of the Congressional land-grant, agriculture, the mechanic arts, classical studies and military tactics. But a touch of the military spirit would be possible and beneficial in many ways. It would make the relationship between professor and student more tolerable for both parties. The mental drill and substantial information acquired through the college course are undoubtedly great. Still greater is the formative influence exercised by the body of students upon the individual member. But the greatest lesson of the course—and the one which seems to have escaped the otherwise close observation of President Porter—should be the lesson of deference to position and authority. This deference to one's superiors in age and position, this respect due to the professor simply because he is a professor, and aside from any consideration of his personal character or attainments, should be the first thing to impress itself upon the student's mind, the last to forsake it. For it is a high moral gain, a controlling principle that will stand the graduate in good stead through all the vicissitudes of after-life. Unless it be acquired we may say with propriety that the college course has fallen short of its highest aim. For the acquisition of this spirit of respect, military training is superior to civil. One officer salutes another, the private salutes his officer, simply because the person saluted is an officer. It may be that he is disagreeable or boorish in manners, or even notoriously incompetent. This matters not: so long as he wears the epaulettes he is entitled to an officer's salute. Honor is shown, not to the transient owner of the title, but to the title itself.

The inculcation of a kindred spirit in all our colleges is devoutly to be wished. It exists already in some of the older ones, especially in the New England States, and in not a few of the very recently-established ones. But even where it does exist it has not full sway: it does not set, as it should set, the keynote to college life in all its variations. And in very many colleges it is unable to establish itself because of gross disorder. Should this opinion seem harsh and sweeping, the reader, if a student or a graduate, has only to recall to mind the instances that he himself must have observed of discontent and disorder growing out of trifling causes and culminating perhaps in a "class-strike." Let him consider the waste of time, the ill-temper, the censorious, invidious spirit engendered by this fermentation, the loss of faith in the conduct, and even [pg 431] the honesty, of the faculty. Can he conceive of anything more likely to frustrate all the aims of college study? Yet in nine-tenths of the cases of public disorder it will be safe to assume that the dormitory system lies at the base of the evil. Where it does not occasion the grievance, it furnishes at least the machinery for carrying matters to a direct issue. Community of life suggests of itself community of action. The inmates of a dormitory acquire insensibly the habit of standing by one another. This is so evident that it needs no proof. But an illustration of the workings of the dormitory system and its opposite in one and the same place will not come amiss. When the Cornell University was founded, some of the trustees opposed the erection of dormitories. Others, assuming that the people of Ithaca, to whom a college was a novelty, could not or would not furnish sufficient accommodation, argued that dormitories were an absolute necessity. They carried the point: the Cascadilla was converted into a large boarding-house for both professors and students, and the greater part of South University was laid out in student-rooms. Both buildings were full. This state of affairs lasted during the first year and part of the second. Disturbances of various kinds were not infrequent; and although no one of them was very serious, yet in the aggregate they were a severe tax upon the faculty's time and patience. But before the end of the second year many of the students discovered that life in town was more comfortable, and accordingly they gave up their university rooms. At the opening of the academic year 1870-1871 perhaps three-fourths, certainly two-thirds, were lodged in town. The change was significant. During the entire year, although individual students were disciplined for individual offences, the faculty was not once forced to punish public disorder. This phenomenon will appear still more remarkable when we consider that meanwhile the so-called "class-feeling" had sprung up, and that students admitted from other colleges had endeavored to introduce certain traditional practices. The year 1870-1871 was perhaps too good to be repeated. The next year witnessed at least one discouraging exhibition of student-manners, and since then there have been explosions from time to time. For all that, the general tone at Cornell is excellent. The transitory disturbances seem to leave behind them no abiding ill-will, and there is certainly less friction between faculty and students than at any like institution. Nowhere in this country is college life more free from petty annoyance, dislike and mistrust, and hereditary prejudices. It should be added, that those students who now reside in the university buildings belong almost exclusively to what is known as the working corps. They are type-setters in the printing-office, or are engaged upon the university farm, or in the workshops connected with the department of the mechanic arts. Their time is too valuable to them to be wasted. The experience of the Sheffield Scientific School resembles that of Cornell. In one respect it is even better. This school has never had a dormitory system. Its managers, imbued thoroughly with the German and French spirit of study, have resisted successfully from the outset every inducement to follow the usual college system. Although growing up in the shadow of one of the oldest colleges in the country, and exposed to formidable competition, and still more formidable criticism, the Sheffield Scientific has adhered strictly to its self-appointed mission. It has regarded instruction in science as its sole object. Whatever tended to this object has been adopted: everything else has been rejected as irrelevant. We are not concerned in this place with the general reputation of the Sheffield Scientific at home and abroad. Singling out only one of its many merits, we can point to it with pride as the first institution to solve effectually the knotty problem of discipline. The means of its success are anything but occult. It has made its pupils feel from the moment of entrance that they were young men, and must act as such. It has refused to encumber itself with expensive and useless dormitories, and the faculty has in the main left the students to themselves. [pg 432] But whenever interference became necessary, it has acted promptly, without undue haste or severity, and also without vacillation. Here, at least, we do not find the ruinous practice of suspending a student one week, only to take him back the next. The mere existence, then, of the Sheffield Scientific—to say nothing of its success—by the side of the powerful corporation of Yale College is fatal to every argument in favor of the dormitory system.

Most of our colleges are situated in small towns. To this circumstance, more than to any other, perhaps, is due the exclusiveness which, in its exaggerated manifestations, is so puzzling to the city visitor. Petty items of life and character, intrigues, quarrels and social jealousies have an importance which the world outside cannot understand. They affect the college more or less directly. The professor finds it doubly hard to exercise his vocation in a place where the details of his home life are known and exposed to comment. The student's power for mischief is increased. He has only too much reason for believing that he is indispensable from the business point of view. Besides, as every one knows, close contact in narrow circles has a tendency to cramp the mind. Trifling annoyances, real or imaginary, are apt to rankle in the spirit unless they be brushed away by the quick, firm touch of the great world. Kleinstädtisches Leben, despite its many advantages, fails to develop the burgher in every direction. It leaves him one-sided, if not exactly narrow-minded. Professor C.K. Adams, in his admirable essay upon "State Universities,"1 has touched upon this point with reference to studies. His words should be carefully weighed: "If the best education consisted simply of making perfect recitations and keeping out of mischief, the smallest college would be incomparably the best college. But the best education is far more than that. Perhaps it is correct to say that it is an inspiration rather than an acquisition. It comes not simply from industry and steady habits, but far more largely from that kindling and glowing zeal which is best begotten by familiar contact with large libraries and museums and enthusiastic specialists.... It is the stir, the enthusiasm, the unceasing activity, and, above all, the constant intercourse with men of the same pursuits and the same ambitions, that develop the greatest energies and secure the highest successes."

Professor Adams, it will be observed, is contrasting small colleges with larger ones. We are not bound by his concessions in favor of the former. And we may also take the liberty of advancing his comparison a step by claiming for large cities, no less than for large colleges, the superiority over small ones. Without intending disrespect, we may even put the direct question, Would not your own university, for whose advantages you are contending, be better off to-day had it been placed in Detroit instead of Ann Arbor? Is there not something dwarfing in the atmosphere of a small country town, where character is undiversified and life uneventful? Were books the sole source of knowledge, were the acquisition of ideas and principles the sole aim, we could wish for our professors and students nothing better than monotony of life. But success, whether in professional or scholarly pursuits, depends largely upon temper and practical judgment—qualities which are developed by contact with the busy world. Whoever has had the experience, knows that life in large cities is both stimulating and sobering. It enlarges one's range of ideas and sympathies: it also keeps idiosyncrasies within proper bounds. The individual does not lose his individuality, but rather intensifies it: he loses only the exaggerated sense of his own importance. We must regard it, then, as unfortunate that so many of our seats of learning are out of the world, so to speak. Our professors would probably do their work better—that is to say, with greater freshness of spirit—and would exert a wider influence, were they thrown more in the company of men of the world. In like manner, our colleges would play a more direct part in the affairs of the country. The history of the German universities suggests a lesson. Is it a mere accident that the [pg 433] oldest and the youngest German universities are in large cities? In the Middle Ages, before the political organization of the country had fairly entered upon its morbid process of disintegration, we find Vienna, Prague2 and Leipsic heading the list. Subsequently, each petty duke and count, moved by the sense of his autonomy, sought to establish a university of his own. The Reformation increased the spirit of rivalry. Most of these second- and third-rate universities have passed away or have been merged in others. The three youngest, Berlin, Munich and Strasburg, are all in large cities, and are all three the direct offspring of political and educational reorganization. As Germany is now constituted, it would be impossible to found a new university in a small town. Such places as Jena, Erlangen, Greifswald, Rostock, Marburg and Giessen barely hold their own against the strong movement in favor of concentration.

The wholesome influence of large surroundings upon students is perhaps even more marked than upon professors. History teaches us with singular clearness that small towns are precisely the ones in which student character is distorted out of all proportion. No better example can be found than the University of Jena. From the time of its foundation down to the present century the name of Jena stood for all that was wild, absurd, and outrageous. In a village whose permanent population did not exceed four thousand, students were crowded by hundreds and thousands. To speak without exaggeration, they ruled Philistia with a rod of iron, in defiance of law and order, and not infrequently of decency itself. On this point we have an eye-witness of unquestionable veracity. In 1798, Steffens, a young Dane brimful of enthusiastic admiration for German learning, arrived in the course of his travels at Jena. He gives the following account of his first impressions of German student manners:3 "I looked out into the neighborhood so strange to me, and a restless suspicion of what was to come ran through my mind. Then we heard in I the distance a loud shouting like the voices of a number of men, and nearer and nearer they seemed to come. Lights had been brought shortly before, and, as the uproar was close upon us, a servant burst in to warn us to extinguish them. We asked with curiosity why, and what the shouting mob wanted. We suspected, indeed, that it was students. The servant told us that they were on their way to the house of Professor A——, who was unpopular with them—I knew not why—to salute him with their Pereat, or college damnation. The cry of some hundred students grew plainer and plainer. 'Out with lights!' was called, and just then we heard the panes of glass clatter when the warning was not quickly enough complied with. I confess that this circumstance, occurring so soon after my arrival, filled me with a kind of gloom. It was not such things as this that had called me to Jena: these were not the voices which I had wished and expected to hear, and my first night was a sad one."

Jena, be it said in her praise, is no longer what she was: her students no longer break window-panes or perform the Gänsemarsch or elect their beer-duke of Lichtenhain. The great herd has scattered, and the few who are left dwell with their professors in peace. But has the spirit of brutality passed wholly away? Perhaps loving parents who have placed their sons under the "protecting" influence of some quiet country town believe so. It is almost a pity to disturb their faith. Yet truth is uncompromising. Let us record and ponder the fact—epithets are superfluous—that in the year of grace 1874, in a small college town not one hundred miles distant from the City of Brotherly Love, students supposed to be guided and restrained by influences more distinctively "Christian" than any that ever mitigated the barbarism of Jena, could become utterly lost to all recollection of father and mother, brother and [pg 434] sister, could forget their own manhood, could steal under cover of night to the house of an unpopular professor and bombard the windows, to the peril of his wife and mother, and of his child in the cradle.

Truly, we have been surfeited with mistaken praise of small colleges and rural virtue. We have a right to demand that our colleges, whatever they may undertake or omit, shall teach at least the first lesson of life—manliness. This lesson is not best learned by withdrawing one's self from the world, burying one's self in an obscure and unrefined village, foregoing social intercourse with amiable men and women, and wrapping one's self in a mantle of traditional prejudice. President Porter, although a staunch defender of the existing college system, concedes its weakness. He says (p. 168): "It is no paradox to say that the first essay of the student's independence [i.e., the independence of college as contrasted with school] is often an act of prostrate subserviency to the opinion of the college community. This opinion he has little share in forming: he does little else than yield himself to the sentiment which he finds already formed.... It [this community] is eminently a law unto itself, making and enforcing such laws as no other community would recognize or understand—laws which are often strangely incongruous with the usually received commandments of God and man.... No community is swayed more completely by the force of public opinion. In none does public opinion solidify itself into so compact and homogeneous a force. Before its power the settled judgments of individual opinion are often abandoned or overborne, the sacred associations of childhood are relaxed, the plainest dictates of truth and honor are misinterpreted or defied."

It may surprise us to find the author contending, only a few pages farther on, for "the civilizing and culturing influences which spring from college residence and college associations." The truth is that the case has two sides to it. No friend of education could wish to see student opinion or student sentiment banished wholly from student life—to reduce study to a mere intellectual process without any trace of esprit de corps. Some such spirit is not only good in itself, but is natural and unavoidable. Three hundred or four hundred young men cannot associate freely day by day for years in succession, pursuing the same studies under the guidance of the same teachers, without establishing a certain community of sentiment and action, from which the student's intellectual efforts must derive a great share of their nourishment. Yet, admitting the principle, we cannot justify or palliate the excess to which it has been carried. We insist upon the observance of certain limits, which no man, whether old or young, learned or unlearned, is at liberty to transgress. And when these limits are transgressed we have a right to regard the offenders as all the more culpable because of their advantages. The circumstance that they come of a "good stock," as it is called, and are pursuing liberal studies, is only an aggravation of the offence. We expect youthful extravagances, waste of time, neglect of opportunities, exaggerated self-importance, a supercilious way of looking down upon the outside world—these are all phases of growth, and are usually short-lived—but we cannot tolerate any violation of the rights of property, any overawing of individual conscience, any breach of public order, any disregard of public decency. Such offences we must resent and punish, not only for the sake of those injured, but in the best interests of the offenders themselves. We cannot afford to let the most promising class of our young men entertain even for the brief period of four years false and pernicious views of the fundamental principles of life. It is the duty of every community to suppress error en voie de fait, wherever it may occur. And if it is our duty to suppress, it is no less our duty to prevent. Common sense and experience teach us that danger must arise from gathering large numbers of young men in places too small to hold them in check. Are we not at liberty to borrow an example from the history of President Porter's own [pg 435] college? In the days when the president was a young professor, Yale was a small college and New Haven was a small town. The name of the college then was, to speak mildly, notorious. The Yale of thirty or forty years ago seemed to personify everything that was obnoxious and lawless in our college life: in no other place did the conflict between "town" and "gown" assume such dimensions and lead to such deplorable results. Yet the Yale of to-day, although the number of students has trebled, will compare favorably with any college or university. The students, without having lost a particle of true manliness and independence, riot less and learn more: they show in every way that they are better students and better citizens. Wherein, then, lies the secret of the change? Evidently, in the circumstance that the city has outgrown the college. New Haven is no longer an insignificant town, but has become the seat of a large local trade and the centre of heavy manufacturing and railroad interests. Like other cities, it has established a paid fire department and a strong police force for the protection of all its residents, the college included. It is no longer overshadowed, much less over-awed, by the college. On the contrary, the observation forces itself upon the visitor in New Haven that the college, notwithstanding its numerous staff of able professors, notwithstanding its great body of students, its libraries and scientific collections, is far from playing the leading part in municipal matters. It is only one among many factors. Life and its relations are on an ampler scale: the wealth and refinement of the permanent population are great, and are growing unceasingly. In a few years more New Haven will be fairly within the vortex of New York. This change, which has come about so gradually that those living in it perhaps fail to perceive it readily, has affected the college in many ways. It has made the life of the professors more agreeable, more generous, so to speak, and it has toned down the student spirit of caste. The young man who enters Yale feels, from the moment of matriculation, that he is indeed in a large city, and must conform to its regulations—that there are such beings as policemen and magistrates, whom he cannot provoke with impunity. Even were this all, it would be gain enough. But there is another gain of a far higher nature. The student perceives that outside his college world lies a larger world that he cannot overlook—a world whose society is worth cultivating, whose opinions are backed by wealth and prestige. It does not follow from this that he ceases to be a student. Companions and study make him feel that he is leading a peculiar life, that he is a member of an independent organization. But he does not feel—and this is the main point—that he has retired from the world or that he can set himself up against the world.

In this connection we have to be on our guard against the opposite extreme—namely, the inference that the larger a city the better for the college. The very largest cities are perhaps not favorable to the growth of institutions of learning. Even in Germany, where the university system rests upon a different basis and adapts itself more readily to circumstances, the leading capitals, Berlin and Vienna, are at a disadvantage. The expenses of living are so great as to deter all but the wealthy or the very ambitious, and the pomp and pageantry of court and nobility, the numerous personnel of the several departments of state, finance, war and justice throw the less ostentatious votaries of science and letters into the shade. Nevertheless, the universities of Berlin and Vienna can scarcely be said to be threatened with permanent decline. The governments of Prussia and Austria recognize the necessity of a great university in a great capital to give tone to the administrative departments and to resist the spread of the spirit of materialism. Besides, the resident population of each of these cities is entitled to a university, and would be sufficient of itself to support one. We may rest assured, therefore, that the Prussian government will act in the future as it has done in the past, by sparing no efforts to make the Frederico-Gulielma the head of the [pg 436] Prussian system in fact as well as in name. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the present hard times and the unsettled state of society in Berlin tend to restrict the number of students. The remarkable contrast presented in the sudden growth of the Leipsic University shows how even matters of education are influenced by social and economic laws. This Saxon city seems marked out by Nature for a seat of learning. It combines almost all attractions and advantages. It is accessible from every quarter, the climate is good for North Germany, and the neighborhood is pleasant, although anything but picturesque. The newer houses are well built, rooms and board are not expensive. The inhabitants are wealthy and highly cultured, the book-trade is enormous, and the banking-business considerable. Yet trade does not move with the fever-heat of speculation: the life of the city is quiet and regular. Amusements of a high order are within the reach of every one. These minor attractions, combined with the more important ones offered by the university itself, will explain to us how it is that Leipsic has taken the foremost rank. Students who are used to city ways, and who would have chosen Berlin ten or twenty years ago, now come here because of the cheapness of living. Others, tired of the monotony of the smaller university towns, come to get a foretaste of the world that awaits them after the completion of their studies. The temper of the students is admirable. Rarely if ever do they betray any traces of the hectoring spirit which still lingers at Heidelberg, for instance. But for the display of corps-caps and cannon boots and an occasional swagger in the street, one might pass an entire semester in Leipsic without realizing that the city contains three thousand students. Undoubtedly, the young men perceive, like their colleagues of Yale, that their surroundings are too much for them.

Another prolific source of trouble is the class system. Whether this system is to be maintained as it is, or to be modified, or to be abandoned for another more in accordance with the needs of the age, are questions which must be kept in abeyance. The answer will depend upon the view which we take of higher education in the main. Meanwhile, let us consider the system in its operations during the past and at the present day. Here, as so often before, Germany affords us a warning example of the dangers consequent upon the recognition of class distinctions. The comparatively harmless practice of Deposition—a burlesque student-initiation which sprang up in the sixteenth century and obtained a quasi sanction from no less a person than Luther—degenerated in the seventeenth century into Pennalisimus. Newly-matriculated students, called Pennalists (the modern term is Füchse), were maltreated by the elder ones, the Schorists, and were pillaged and forced to perform menial services "such as a sensible master would hesitate to exact of his servant4." The Schorists considered themselves a licensed corporation. To give an idea of their deportment, not merely toward the younger students, but even toward the university itself, it will suffice to state that they conducted their orgies at times in the public streets without fear or shame. In 1660, during the student insurrection at Jena, they assaulted and dispersed the Academic Senate in session. The governmental rescripts of those days are taken up with accounts of the evil and the means proposed for curing it. The matter was even brought before the Imperial Diet. Pennalismus was not suppressed until the close of the century, after the various governments had resorted to the most stringent measures. Such excesses have, of course, never been committed in America; yet we observe the same spirit of insubordination to superiors and domination over inferiors betraying itself in the New World. When we hear of "rushing," "hazing," "smoking-out" and the like, we must admit to ourselves that the animus is the same, although the form be only ludicrous. And what shall we say to performances such as the explosion [pg 437] of nitro-glycerine? Much may be urged in extenuation of the offences of the German students in the seventeenth century. Their sensibilities were blunted by the horrors of a Thirty Years' War; they had been born and reared amid bloodshed and rapine; some of them must have served in the campaigns of Banér, Torstenson and Wrangel, where human life went for nothing, and honor for less than nothing. Some of them, perhaps, could not name their parents. They were waifs of the camp, their only education the crumbs of knowledge picked up in the camp-school mentioned by Schiller in his Wallenstein. Our students, on the contrary, are anxiously shielded against temptation and are carefully trained for their work. Why, then, should they be the only set of persons to disobey, as a set, the rules of public order? The answer suggests itself: Because they have acquired the habit of joint action without the sense of individual responsibility.

The advantages of the present system of instruction by classes are not to be overlooked. Yet they are attended with one serious evil. The members of a class, reciting day by day, term after term, upon the same subjects, acquire the notion of a certain average of work. The class, as a unit, has only so much to learn, and the professor is not to exceed this maximum. Furthermore, each class gauges its work by the work of its predecessors. The Sophomore class of this year, for instance, is not willing to do more than the Sophomore class of last year. To introduce more difficult text-books, or to increase the number of hours, or to lengthen the lessons, is injustice. The notion of unity extends itself to social relations. Each member considers himself identified with his comrades. Tradition—everywhere a power, and especially powerful in college—establishes nice distinctions. It lays down the rule that one class shall not wear beaver hats or carry canes—that another class shall steal the town-gates on a particular night of the year or publish scurrilous pamphlets. Each member of the class must do certain things or must refrain from them, not because he wishes to, but because he is a member of the class. The strength of this community of feeling and interests can be estimated only by one who has experienced it. Were its operations confined to the relations among students, they would be less formidable. We might perhaps shrug our shoulders and leave the young men "to fight it out among themselves." The case becomes quite different, however, when a class arrays itself in opposition to its professor or to the entire faculty. Then we see plainly the dangers of insubordination. The immature and inexperienced set themselves above their elders: they arrogate to themselves the right of deciding what they shall learn, how much they shall learn, how they shall learn it. And, being a class, they stand or fall as a class. They exhibit tenacity of purpose and an unscrupulous use of improper means. Many a professor has learned to his cost what it is to be defied by his class.

An example will be more instructive than vague generalities. About seven years ago a gentleman was engaged by one of our colleges to take charge of a new department until a permanent appointee might be found. The resident faculty committed one blunder after another. It added the new study outright without adjusting it to the previous studies. It also fixed upon Saturday as the day for beginning. Thus, the students were prejudiced against their new instructor before they had even seen him. Besides, they regarded the innovation as an "interloper." The victim to student rule may now tell his own story: "I took the 6 A.M. train Saturday morning from the city. After breakfast I was directed by the president to go to a certain room, unaccompanied, to meet the Sophomore class. One hundred hyenas! My entrance was greeted with groans, 'Ahas!' 'Hums!' I spent half an hour in the vain attempt to explain the subject. Before I was half through I had made up my mind to return to the city by the first train. On leaving the room I met Professor ——, who comprehended the situation at a glance. He [pg 438] said that he had been through it all himself—that it had taken him two years to get control of his classes. I learned afterward that this is the usual time allowed for such purpose. The president on meeting me, said in his usual abrupt, nervous brogue, 'It's nothing against the men, sir! It would be just the same if it were anybody else, sir! (!!!). Just go on, sir.' I finally decided 'to go on, sir,' but I hardly retain my self-respect when I remember how I submitted for three months to a series of petty annoyances unworthy the lowest gamins of New York. Students purposely made mistakes to give others an opportunity to groan. The Sophomore class was divided into two sections after the third week. By dint of strict watching, which so absorbed my attention that I could do little in the way of instruction, I succeeded in obtaining tolerable order. Usually, a painful silence was observed, every one knowing that there was a hand-to-hand fight going on for the mastery. The Junior class could not be divided because of other studies. Their recitations (?) continued to be a bedlam, a pandemonium. I afterward learned that some students, who already had some knowledge of the subject, remained on purpose to create disturbance. One of them, a son of a trustee, I caught blowing snuff through the room. It was a favorite trick of the class to drop a bundle of snuff in the stove. Each one of the fifteen recitations that I had with this class was spoiled by some disturbance. On two occasions some of them stole the keys of the room and locked me in with part of the class. Fortunately, I was able to drive back the bolt. The president was less lucky. Twice he and his entire class were obliged to climb down from the window by a ladder. There is no use in multiplying words. The treatment to which I was subjected was shameful. What made it even worse was, that the authorities permitted such conduct toward one whom they had invited to take the initiative in beginning a new study. It was a perfectly-understood thing that I had accepted the temporary appointment more to relieve the college than for my own benefit."

The writer of the above is now one of the leading professors in another college. His name and reputation are among the best in the land. He writes concerning his present position: "We have here two hundred and fifty students, all told. The utmost courtesy prevails, both in the recitation-room and in the streets. During the five years that we have been in existence as a college I do not remember that a single rude act has been committed toward any professor. I attribute this to a variety of circumstances. We began with a small body of students, who gave tone to the subsequent ones. We have no dormitories. The college is in a city too large to be controlled by students. Nothing could be pleasanter than the intercourse between town and college. Not a gate has been carried off, no loud shouting is heard. If there are night-revels, nobody ever hears of them. We have no prizes, no honors, no marking system. We hold rigid examinations, and watch the tendency to negligence if it shows itself."

One circumstance may lead us to take a more hopeful view of the situation. The colleges—and consequently the classes—are growing larger. At Yale and Harvard, for instance, the classes exceed two hundred on entrance. It is clear that so large a body cannot cohere very firmly. The sense of homogeneousness is lost. Furthermore, the class is divided into sections and sub-sections. The occasions on which the student can see his entire class together are becoming comparatively few. The so-called elective studies will also help to keep down the class spirit. In many colleges the curriculum is no longer an inflexible routine. On reaching a certain standing the student, although not entirely free to select his studies, has at least an option. He may take German instead of Greek, French in place of Latin, advanced mathematics or the natural sciences in place of both. Whatever estimate we may set upon the intrinsic value of such options, we can scarcely doubt their efficacy in the matter of discipline. [pg 439] The class which branches out on different lines of study has already ceased to be a class. The results of the system of free selection established at the Cornell University are very instructive. We find here three or four courses of study, now running parallel, now overlapping one another, and outside of them the elective students who follow partial courses or specialties. The university has scrupulously refrained from the official use of the terms Senior, Junior, Sophomore and Freshman, and arranges the students' names in the index in alphabetical order. The sections in certain departments, especially in the modern languages and history, are made up of students of all four years. Even the courses themselves are not inflexible. The policy of accepting bonâ fide equivalents has been adopted, and has given satisfaction to both teachers and pupils. There are probably not twenty students in the university at this moment who have recited side by side on exactly the same subjects and in the same order for three years. Hence the absence of any strong class feeling. Although those who have attended the university the same number of years may try hard at times to convince themselves and others that they are a class in the ordinary sense, they meet with little success. Individual freedom of opinion and conduct is the rule, and such a thing as class coercion is an impossibility. At one time it was argued by the adversaries of the university that this laxity must result in lowering the standard of scholarship. But recent events lead us to the opposite conclusion. The Saratoga regatta last summer proved that the Cornell students are not wanting in muscle, and the inter-collegiate contest of this winter shows still more conclusively that they are not wanting in brains. Cornell entered in four of the six contests, and won four prizes—one second and three firsts. Two of these first prizes, be it observed, far outrank the others as tests of scholarship—namely, those in Greek and in mathematics. No shallow theory of luck will explain this sudden and remarkable success. The older colleges will do well to inquire into causes, and to ask themselves if their young rival is not possessed of a new power—if sturdiness of character and independence of thought are not more efficient than mere routine. After all, is it surprising that the institution which is most liberal should attract to itself the most progressive minds?


Footnote 1: (return)

North American Review, Oct., 1875.

Footnote 2: (return)

Heidelberg comes between Vienna and Leipsic, but Heidelberg was then a much more important town than at present.

Footnote 3: (return)

German Universities. Translated by W.L. Gage. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1874. Steffens little imagined at the time that he was destined to become a German professor.

Footnote 4: (return)

The words of the decree of the Imperial Diet, 1654. See Von Raumer, Geschichte. der Pedagogik, iv. 45.


I saw a garden-bed on which there grew,

Low down amid gay grass, a violet,

With flame of poppy flickering over it,

And many gaudy spikes and blossoms new,

Round which the wind with amorous whispers blew.

There came a maid, gold-haired and lithe and strong,

With limbs whereof the delicate perfumed flesh

Was like a babe's. She broke the flowering mesh

Of flaunting weeds, and plucked the modest bloom

To wear it on her bosom all day long.

So in pure breasts pure things find welcomest room,

And poppied epics, flushed with blood and wrong,

Are crushed to reach love's violets of song.


[pg 440]


Susan—Susan Summerhaze—was twenty-nine, and had never had a lover. You smile. You people have a way of smiling at the mention of a maiden lady who has never had a lover, as though there was a very good joke in the matter. You ought to be ashamed to smile. You have a tear for the girl at the grave of her lover, and for the bride of a month in her widow's cap, and even for her who mourns a lover changed. But in each of these cases the woman has had her romance: her spirit has thrilled to enchanted music; there is a consecrated something in her nature; a tender memory is hers for ever.

Nothing is so pathetic as the insignificant. Than a dead blank, better a path marked by—well, anything, perhaps, except dishonor. The colorless, commonplace life was especially dreary to my Susan, because of a streak of romance—and a broad streak it was—that ran from end to end of her nature.

It's another provoking way you people have of laughing at romantic young women. Sentimental, you call them. I tell you it's the most womanly thing in the world to be sentimental. A woman's affections reaching out toward a man's heart is as much a part of Nature, and just as pretty a thing in Nature, as the morning-glory—or let us take the old and oft-used yet good illustration of the ivy and the oak. When the woman's reaching affections attain the sought heart, everybody cries out, "How sweet and tender and graceful!" But if they miss of the hold, then there is derision. Here, as everywhere else, there are cheers for success and no pity for failure.

Well, however you may receive it, the truth must be acknowledged: my Susan was sentimental. She had had her longings and dreams, and an abundance of those great vague heartaches which only sentimental people can have. She had gone through with the whole—the sweet hopes, the yearning expectancy, the vague anxiety, the brooding doubt, the slow giving up—the reluctant acceptance of her fading life. Her romance died hard. Very gradually, and with many a protest, the woman of heartaches and sentiment glided into the practical and commonplace maiden lady who served on all sorts of committees and watched with sick people.

At an early age, when she was barely sixteen, the suggestion had been forced on Susan that it was her duty to spread her wings and leave the paternal nest to earn her living. Of course she went to teaching. That's what such people as Susan always do in like circumstances. At first her earnings went into the family fund to buy bread for little mouths that were not to blame for being hungry, and shoes for little feet that did not know wherefore they had been set to travel life's road. But after a while a portion of Susan's salary came to be deposited in bank as her very own money, to have and to hold. She had now reached the giving-up period of her life, when the heartaches were dulling, and the nameless longings were being resolved into occasional lookings back to the time when there had been hopes of deliverance from the commonplace. Having tasted the sweets of being a capitalist, Susan came in process of time to be eager at money-getting and at money-saving and at speculating. The day arrived when my sentimental Susan had United States bonds and railroad stocks, and owned a half acre in city lots in a great, teeming, tempestuous State metropolis.

It was at this period in her affairs that Susan received a gift of fifteen hundred dollars from her bachelor uncle Adolphus, "as a token," so the letter of transmission read, "of my approval of your industry and of your business ability and successes, and as a mark of my gratitude for your kindness to me twenty-one years ago when I was sick at your father's house. [pg 441] You were the only one of my brother's children that showed me any consideration."

"Twenty-one years ago!" exclaimed Gertrude, Susan's younger sister, when she had read the letter through. "Why, that was before I was born! How in the world could I show him consideration? I wish to goodness he'd come here now and get sick. I'd show him consideration: I'd tend him like an own mother."

"Susie didn't tend him like an own mother," said Brother Tom, who was two years younger than Susan. "I remember all about it. All she did for him was to keep the flies off with an apple-tree limb, and she was for ever letting it drop on his face."

"I recollect all about it," said Susan: "I pity myself now when I remember how tired and sleepy I used to get. The room was always so quiet—not a sound in it but the buzzing of the lazy flies and poor uncle's hard breathing. I used to feel as though I were in prison or all alone at a funeral."

"But self-abnegation has its reward, Susie," said Brother Tom, lifting his eyebrows and shrugging his shoulders.

"Oh, I'm free to acknowledge that I performed the duties at that bedside very reluctantly," Susan answered. "I had many a cry over my hard fate. Indeed, I believe I always had to wash off the tear-stains before going to the task. I can recall now just how the little red-eyed girl looked standing before the glass with towel and brush. But still, I did keep the flies off, and I did bring uncle fresh water from the well, and perhaps I deserve a reward all the more because the work was distasteful."

"Mother used to try to make me do it," said Brother Tom. "I remember how I used to slip away from the table while she was pouring out father's fourth cup of coffee, and put for the playground, to escape that fly-brush. I wasn't a good boy, alas! or I might now be a happy man with all my debts paid. I wish my mother had trounced me and made me keep those flies off Uncle Adolphus."

Brother Tom was one of those people who are always trying to say and look funny things. Sometimes he succeeded, and sometimes he didn't.

"Anyhow, I think it's a shame," Gertrude said, pouting—"downright mean for Uncle Adolphus to give you all that money, and never give me a cent."

"Very likely." Susan replied dryly.

"Well, it is, Susie. You've got lots more money now than you know what to do with: you don't need that money at all."

"Don't I?"

"No, you don't, Susie: you know you don't. You never go into society, and you wear your dresses the same way all the time, just as Grandma Summerhaze does. But I'm just making my début"—and Gertrude flushed and tossed her head with a pretty confusion, because she was conscious of having made a sounding speech—"and I need lots of things, such as the rest of the girls have."

"My dear Gertrude," began Brother Tom, "'beauty unadorned'—"

"Oh, do, pray, Tom, have mercy upon us!" Gertrude said testily. "Unfortunately, I happen not to be a beauty, so I need some adorning. Moreover, I don't admit that beauty can do without adorning. There's Minnie Lathrop: she's a beauty, but she wouldn't improve herself by leaving off flowers and ribbons and laces, and dressing herself like a nun. Dear me! she does have the loveliest things! Mine are so shabby beside them. I'm about the tag-end of our set, anyhow, in matters of dress. I think, Susie, you might give me a hundred or two dollars."

"To waste in ribbons and bonnets?" asked business-woman Susan.

"Why, Susie, how you do talk! A body would think you had never worn a ribbon, and that you'd gone bareheaded all the days of your life. But you needn't talk: it's not so long ago but I can remember when you were as fond of dress as any girl in the city. I remember how you used to tease mamma for pretty things."

"Which I never got, even though I was earning them over and over." Susan spoke half sadly, half bitterly.

"Well, you ought to have had nice [pg 442] things, Susie, when you were in society," Gertrude insisted. "Girls can't get married if they're shabby and old-fashioned."

"That's true," said Susan gravely.

"I think," continued her sister, "it's the meanest feeling, the sheep-ish-est"—Gertrude syllabled the word to make sure of her hold on it—"in this world to know that the gentlemen are ashamed to show you attention. Now, I'm cleverer and better-looking than lots of girls in our set—Delia Spaulding, for instance—but I don't have half the attention she receives, just on account of her fixings and furbelows."

"And Miss Spaulding always manages to keep ahead in those sublimities," said Brother Tom.

"Yes," assented Gertrude briskly. "No matter what on earth the rest of us girls get, Delia Spaulding manages to have something to cast us into the shade. It makes me so mad! Now, last week at Mrs. Gildersleeve's, when I dressed for the party I thought I looked really nice. I felt a complacency toward myself, as Margaret Pillsbury would say. But when I got to the party, there was Delia Spaulding prinked out with such lights and shades and lustres that I looked plain as a Quaker in comparison with her—or with any of the other girls, for that matter. Do you know, Susie, what the feeling is to be always behind in dress?"

"Yes," Susan answered, a piteous shadow coming into her face as memories of the heart-burning days were evoked, "but I am glad to have done with all the vanity and heartache that comes of it."

"But yet, Susie, you ought to know how to feel for me."

"I do know how," Susan answered.

"Then why don't you help me across some of the heartache?"

"I might help you into a worse heartache by my meddling," Susan suggested.

"You don't want anybody to marry you because you dress well and are stylish?" said Brother Tom, undertaking to explain Susan's meaning.

"I don't know that I want anybody to marry me for any reason," Gertrude flashed out, her cheeks flushing, "but I like to go, once in a while, to young people's gatherings, and then I like to be dressed so that gentlemen are not ashamed to be seen with me."

"A fellow ought to have pluck enough to stand up for the merit of a young lady, no matter how she's dressed."

"Now, Tom, for pity's sake, don't talk heroics," said Gertrude. "I've seen you at parties shying around the poorly-dressed girls and picking out the pretty-plumaged birds. I know all about your heroism. I'm not blaming you, you understand: I don't like to dance or promenade with a gentleman not well dressed. Next to looking well yourself, you wish your partner to look well. That's nature.—But what are you going to do with your fifteen hundred dollars, anyhow, Susie?"

"I shall add something to it and build a house on one of my lots."

"'Pon my soul!" said Brother Tom, laughing.

"How perfectly absurd!" exclaimed Gertrude. "Suppose your house should burn down as soon as it's finished, as the First Congregational church did?"

"I'd get the insurance on it, as the Congregational church didn't."

"What in the world do you want with a house? Are you going to live in it yourself? Are you going to get married?" asked Brother Tom.

"I have two objects in building the house," Susan explained. "One is to secure a good investment for my money: the other is to exercise my ingenuity in planning a model house."

"And in the mean time I am to keep on being Miss Nobody," Gertrude said warmly, "and lose all the chances of fortune. I wouldn't have believed, Susie, that you could be so hard-hearted;" and tears began to gather in Miss Gertrude's pretty eyes. "It must be that you want an old-maid sister for company," she added with some spite.'

Tom went out of the room whistling. He was apt to run if he perceived a fight waxing. He had a soft place in his silly heart for his pretty young sister. He wished Susan would do something for Gertrude: he thought she might. [pg 443] He'd feel considerably more comfortable in escorting Gertrude to parties if she ranked higher in the dress-circle. He'd help her if he could, but he was already behind at his tailor's and at Hunsaker's cigar-shop.

"I'm invited to Mrs. Alderson's next week," Gertrude continued, "and I've nothing on earth to wear but that everlasting old white muslin that I've worn five times hand-running."

"I heard you say that Amanda Stewart had worn one dress to all the parties of this season," Susan remarked.

"Amanda Stewart can afford to wear one dress: her father's worth millions, and everybody knows it. Everybody knows she can have a dozen new dresses for every day of the year. But we poor folks have got to give ocular demonstration of our ability to have new dresses, or nobody will ever believe that we can. Everybody knows that I wear that white muslin because I can't afford any other, I do wish I could have a new dress for Mrs. Alderson's: it will be a dreadfully select party. I've rung all the changes possible on that white muslin: I've worn pink trimmings, and white trimmings, and blue trimmings, and I've worn flowers; and now I'm at my wit's end."

"I wish I were able to advise you," Susan said.

"Advise me?" Gertrude exclaimed impatiently. "What good would advice do? It takes money to get up changes in evening dresses."

"You poor little goose!" said Susan with a grave smile, "I suppose I was once just as foolish. Well, here are twenty-five dollars you may have. It is really all I can spare, for I mean to go at building my house immediately."

"Susie, you're a duck!" cried the delighted Gertrude, eagerly taking the bills. "I can get along nicely with twenty-five dollars for this time, but, oh dear! the next time!"

But Susan did not heed her sister's foreboding cry. Getting pencil and paper, she was soon engaged in sketching the ground-floor of a cottage house. It was to cost about twenty-six hundred dollars. This was years before the day of high prices, when a very cozy house could be compassed for twenty-six hundred.

The following three weeks were very busy weeks for Susan, though all she did was to work at the plan of her house. Her mother grumbled. Brother Tom made his jokes, and Gertrude "feazed," to use her own word. The neighbors came and went, and still Susan continued to sit with drawing-tools at her desk, sketching plan after plan, and rejecting one after another.

"I declare, Susie," said her sister, "I don't believe Christopher Wren gave as much thought to the planning of St. Paul's as you have to that cottage you're going to build. I believe in my heart you've made a thousand diagrams."

"Well," Susan retorted, "I don't suppose anybody's been hurt by them."

"You wouldn't say that if you had to clear up the library every morning as I have to. Those sketches of yours are everywhere, lying around loose. I have picked them up and picked them up, till they've tired me out. 'Parlor, dining-room, kitchen, pantry:' I've read this and read it, till it runs in my head all day, like 'rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief.' I've marked off the figures on all the papering in this house into 'parlor, dining-room, kitchen, pantry."

"I don't see a mite of reason in Susan's being so particular about that house," said the mother, "seein' she's going to rent it. Now, if she was going to live in it herself, or any of the rest of the family, it would be different, Anyway, these plans all look to me like first-rate ones," she continued, glancing from one to another of half a dozen under her spectacles—"plenty good enough for renting-houses. Now, this one is right pretty, 'pears to me, and right handy.—What's the reason this one won't do, Susan?"

"Why, mother, don't you see the fault?" Susan replied. "There's no way of getting to the dining-room except through the kitchen."

"To be sure!" said the mother. "Of course that would never do, for, of all things, I do despise to have folks stalking [pg 444] through my kitchen when the pots and kittles are all in a muss, as they're always like to be at meal-times. What ever did you draw it this way for, Susan?"

"Well, I didn't see how it was coming out till it was finished."

"To be sure! Well, now, what's the matter with this one?" and the mother singled out another sketch. "This one seems to be about right."

"Why, yes, I think it's splendid," said Gertrude, leaning over her mother's shoulder and studying the plan under consideration. "There's the cellar-way opening from the pantry, and there's a movable slide between dining-room and pantry, right over the sink.—Why, Susie, I think this is wonderfully nice. Why don't you adopt this plan?"

"The objection to it is that the pantry has no window: it would be as dark as a pocket. Don't you see there can't be a window?"

"So there can't," said Gertrude.

"That spoils the whole thing," said the mother. "If there's anything I do despise, it's this thing of fumblin' 'round in a dark pantry; and, before everything else, I want my mouldin'-board so I can see what goes into my bread. Now, I never noticed about that window, and I s'pose would never have minded about it till the house was built an' I'd gone in to mix my bread. Then wouldn't I have been in a pretty pickle? Clean beat! Well, I suppose there's something or other the matter with all these plans?"

"Yes," said Susan, "they're all faulty."

"I don't see any fault in this one, Susie," said Gertrude.

"That one has the kitchen chimney in the pantry," Susan explained.

"Dear me! that would never do," said the mother. "Of all things, I dote on a cool pantry. What with the baking and the laundry-work, that chimney would keep the pantry all the while het up. It would be handy for canned fruits and jellies in the winter, though—so many of ours froze and bursted last winter."

"Now, this one," said Gertrude—"I'm sure this is all right, Susie. I can't see anything wrong about this one."

"Why, don't you see? That kitchen hasn't a door in it except the cellar-door," said Susan.

"Well, I declare!" Gertrude said. "What ridiculous plans you do make, Susie! The idea of planning a kitchen without a door!"

"Why, that would never do, Susan," the mother objected. "Folks never could take all the victuals and things down through the cellar."

"I warrant I could plan a house, and a model house, the first time," Gertrude boasted.

"Try it," replied Susan quietly.

"I know I can," Gertrude insisted, settling herself with paper and pencil.

"I believe I'll try my hand," said the mother. "I've housekept so long I likely know what are the belongings of a handy house;" and she too settled herself with paper and pencil and spectacles.

There was silence for a few minutes as the three drew lines and rubbed them out.

Presently Brother Tom came in. "Well, for ever!" he exclaimed, with the inevitable laugh. "What are you people all about? Have you all gone house-mad? Are you, too, going to build a house, Gert?"

"No, I'm just helping Susie: she can't get any plan to suit her."

"Why don't you call on me, Susie? Let me have a pencil and a scrap of paper: I can plan a house in the half of no time."

"Here," Susan answered, furnishing the required materials, and enjoying, meanwhile, the thought of the discomfiture which, as she felt sure, awaited these volunteer architects.

"Do see mother's plan!" laughed Gertrude after a while, peeping over that lady's shoulder. "Her kitchen is large enough for a prosperous livery-stable, and it has ten windows; and here's the parlor—nothing but a goods-box; and she hasn't any way of gettin; to the second floor."

"Put in an elevator," said Brother Tom.

This drew Gertrude's attention to Tom's sketch, so she went across, and looked it over. Man-like, he had left [pg 445] out of his plan everything in the way of a pantry or closet, though he had a handsome smoking-room and a billiard-hall.

Not at all disconcerted by the criticisms of his plan, Tom proceeded with wonderful contrivance to run a partition with his pencil across one end of his roomy smoking apartment for pantry and ladies' clothes-presses.

"That's just like a man," Gertrude said. "He'd have all the dishes and all the ladies' dresses toted through the smoking-room."

"Well, see here," Tom said: "I can take closets off this bedroom;" and the division-line was quickly run.

"And, pray, whose bedroom is that supposed to be?" Gertrude asked. "It might answer for a retired bachelor who has nothing to store but an extra shirt: it wouldn't do for a young lady with such hoops as they wear these days. She couldn't squeeze in between the bed and washstand to save her flounces. You ain't an architect, Tom: that's certain."

"Well, now, let's see your plan," challenged the gentleman; and he began to read from Gertrude's paper: "'Parlor, sewing-room—' Now that's extravagant, Gert. I think your women-folks might get along without a special sewing-room. Why can't they sew in the dining-room?"

"That's handsome, and very gallant," answered Gertrude. "Your men can have a billiard-room and a smoking-room, while my poor women can't even have a comfortable place for darning the men's stockings and sewing on their shirt-buttons. Oh, men are such selfish creatures!"

"Well, now," said Brother Tom, "I'll leave it to Susie if those tenants of hers can afford to have a special sewing-room."

"And I'll leave it to Susie if—"

But Susan interrupted her: "You and Tom must settle your disputes without my help. There, now! I think I have my plan decided upon at last. After a hundred and one trials I believe I have a faultless sketch."

"Let's see it," said one and another, all gathering about the speaker.

Susan explained her plan. The only objection to it came from the mother. She was afraid if things were made so dreadful handy the folks would get to be lazy; and, anyhow, there wasn't any use in having things so nice in a rented house: they'd get put out of kilter right away.

But Susan had set out to build a perfect house, and she was not to be frightened from her object. So in process of time there were delivered into the owner's hands the keys of the house that Susan had built.

Three lines in a morning paper inviting a tenant brought a throng of applicants. Susan, like the generality of landlords, had her face set against tenants with certain encumbrances, so a score or more of applicants had been refused the house before the close of the first day.

Toward evening a gentleman called to see Miss Summerhaze, announcing himself as Mr. Falconer. When Susan entered the parlor she found a heavy-set, rather short man, who had bright gray eyes, a broad full forehead, and was altogether a very good-looking person.

"I have called," he said immediately, "to inquire about the house you have advertised for rent on North Jefferson street."

"I am ready to answer your inquiries," said Susan, like the business-woman she was.

After the questions usual in such circumstances, by which Mr. Falconer satisfied himself that the house would probably answer his purpose, it became Susan's turn to satisfy herself that he was such a tenant as she desired for her model house. "Before going to look at the house," she said, "I ought to ask you some questions, for I feel particular about who goes into it."

Susan had occasion at a later day to remember the shade of uneasiness that came into Mr. Falconer's face at this point. "I trust I shall be able to answer all your questions to your satisfaction," he said.

"Do you keep dogs?" This is the first question Susan asked.

Mr. Falconer smiled, and looked as [pg 446] though he wondered what that had to do with the matter.

"I ask," Susan hastened to explain, "because dogs often tear up the grounds."

"Well, no, I don't keep dogs," Mr. Falconer answered.

"Have you boys?"

Mr. Falconer smiled quietly, and replied, "No, I haven't any boys."

"Three or four rough boys will ruin a house in a few months," Susan said in her justification. "Have you any children?—a large family?"

"What do people do who have large families and who must rent houses?" Mr. Falconer asked.

"Why, go to people more anxious to rent than I am."

"No," said Mr. Falconer, returning to the question: "I am unfortunately a bachelor."

"Do you propose keeping bachelor's hall?" Susan asked in quick concern. "Excuse me, but I could not think of renting the house to a bachelor or bachelors. It is a rare man who is a house-keeper. Things would soon be at sixes and sevens with a set of men in the house."

"I do not wish to rent the house for myself, but for a friend."

"Well, I propose the same questions in reference to your friend that I have asked concerning yourself."

"Well, then," Mr. Falconer replied, still smiling, "my friend does not keep dogs; she has no boys; she has one little girl."

"Your friend is a lady—a widow?"

"No—yes, I mean to say."

"Do I understand that she is a widow?"

"Yes, of course."

There was a confusion in Mr. Falconer's manner that Susan remembered afterward.

"Can you give me references, Mr. Falconer?" and Susan looked him straight in the eye.

"Well, yes. Mr. Hamilton of the Hamilton Block I know, and Mr. Dorsheimer of the Metropolitan Hotel. I am also acquainted with Andrew Richardson, banker, and with John Y. Martindale, M.C."

"Those references are sufficient," Susan said, her confidence restored. "I will make inquiries, and if everything is right, as I have no doubt it is, you can have the house if you should find that it suits you. Will you go over now and look at it? It is scarcely a half block from here."

"Yes, if you please: I should like the matter settled as soon as possible."

So Susan put on her bonnet and brought a bunch of keys, and walked away with Mr. Falconer to show the house which she had built. And a proud woman was Susan as she did this, and a perfect right had Susan to be a proud woman. She had, indeed, built a model house as far as twenty-six hundred dollars could do this. That amount was never, perhaps, put into brick and mortar in better shape. So Mr. Falconer thought, and so he said very cordially.

"Oh," sighed our poor Susan when she was again at home, "how good it seems to have such appreciation!"

Susan made inquiries of Mr. Hamilton of the Hamilton Block concerning Mr. Falconer.

"Very nice man—very nice man, indeed!" Mr. Hamilton answered briskly: "deals on the square, and always up to time."

So the papers were drawn up, and Mr. Falconer paid the first month's rent—forty dollars.

"Here, Gertrude," Susan said, handing her sister a roll of bills: "half the rent of my house I shall allow you. Make yourself as pretty as you can with it."

"Oh, you blessed darling angel!" Gertrude cried in a transport. "You're the best sister that ever lived, Susie: you really are. Make myself pretty! I tell you I mean to shine like a star with this money. Twenty dollars a month! Delia Spaulding spends five times as much, I suppose. But never mind. I have an eye and I have fingers: I'll make my money do wonders."

This Gertrude indeed did. She knew instinctively what colors and what shapes would suit her form and face and harmonize with her general wardrobe. So [pg 447] she wasted nothing in experiments or in articles to be discarded because unbecoming or inharmonious. If Gertrude's toilets were less expensive than Delia Spaulding's, they were more unique and more picturesque. Indeed, there was not in her set a more prettily-dressed girl than Gertrude, and scarcely a prettier girl. Her society among the gentlemen was soon quoted at par, and then rose to a premium.

Promptly on the first day of the second month Mr. Falconer called to pay Susan's rent.

"How does your friend like the house?" she asked with a pardonable desire to hear her house praised.

"Very much indeed. She says it is the most complete house of its kind that she ever saw. Who was your architect, Miss Summerhaze? I ask because the question has been asked of me by a gentleman who contemplates building an inexpensive residence."

"I planned the house," Susan answered, a light coming into her face.

"Indeed! In all its details?"

"Yes, I planned everything."

"Have you studied architecture?"

"Not until I undertook to plan that house."

"That is your first effort? You never planned a house before?"


"You ought to turn builder: you ought to open an architect's office."

Susan laughed at the novel suggestion, for that was before the days when women were showing their heads in all the walks of life.

"'Miss Summerhaze, Architect:' that would make a very unique card. It would get abundant advertising free of expense, for everybody would talk about it. There is no reason," continued Mr. Falconer, "why women should not be architects: they have the taste, and they are the best judges as to household conveniences—the only proper judges, indeed."

This has now a very commonplace sound, but for the period it was fresh and original, and seemed so to Susan. Indeed, the idea was fascinating: she thought Mr. Falconer a wonderfully bright and suggestive man.

"I wish there were other things women could do besides teaching and taking in sewing," Susan said.

"Well, why don't you put yourself in the lead in this matter, Miss Summerhaze? Somebody or bodies must step to the front. A revolution in these matters is bound to come. Why shouldn't you become an architect? Why shouldn't you go into a work for which you have evidently remarkable talent? Why shouldn't you become a builder?"

"Well," said Susan, smiling, "there is no pressing call for me to earn money. I have had my work-day, and have sufficient means to meet my simple wants. Besides, I am not pining or rusting in idleness. The management of my little means gives me employment. I happen to be one of those exceptional women who 'want but little here below,' especially in the way of ribbons and new bonnets. As you perceive, I give myself little concern about matters of dress."

"And why shouldn't you give yourself concern about matters of dress, Miss Summerhaze? Pardon me, but I think it your duty to look as well as you can. You cannot do this without bestowing thought on matters of dress."

"Why," said Susan, laughing, "what possible difference can it make to anybody how I look?"

"It makes a difference to every person whom you encounter," Mr. Falconer replied incisively.

"To you?" Susan challenged laughingly.

"Yes, a good deal of difference to me," the gentleman replied promptly. "The sight of a woman artistically dressed affects me like fine music or a fine painting."

"But have you no commendation for the woman who is independent enough to rise above the vanities of fashion?" Susan asked with some warmth.

"Most certainly I have. I admire the woman who rises above vanities of whatever nature. By all means throw the vanities of dress overboard, but don't let sense and taste go with them. But I am [pg 448] making a lengthy call: I had forgotten myself. Excuse me. Good-morning;" and Mr. Falconer went out, and left Susan standing in the parlor just opposite an oil-painting over the mantel.

She lifted her eyes to the picture. A simple little landscape it was, where cows stood in a brook which wound in and out among drooping willows. Susan always liked to look at this picture, because she knew it was well painted. The cows had a look of quiet enjoyment in their shapely figures. A coolness was painted in the brook and a soft wind in the willow-branches. She stood there before it this morning thinking how sweet it would be to move some man's soul as a fine painting might move it. Then she sighed, and went to divide her month's rent with her sister.

"Gertrude," she said, "do I look very old-fashioned?"

"Of course you do," said Gertrude. "You look fully as old-fashioned as grandma does—more old-fashioned than mother does. I do wish, Susie, you would dress better. You make me feel terribly sheepish sometimes. You can afford to dress well."

"I have decided to get a new dress," said Susan. "What shall it be? and how shall it be made? Something for the street."

"Oh, I know exactly what you ought to have," Gertrude said with enthusiasm. "A dark-blue merino, a shade lighter than a navy, with blue velvet bretelles. You would look superb in it, Susie: you'd be made over new."

"I never looked superb in anything," said Susan with a smile through which one saw a heartache.

"Because you never had pretty things to wear, Susie—because you never dressed becomingly." The tears were actually in Gertrude's eyes, so keen was her sympathy with any woman who didn't wear pretty things. "Mayn't I go and select your dress this afternoon? Please let me: I know the exact shade you ought to have."

Susan gave her consent, and away sailed Gertrude to the shops, brimming with interest.

Through the enterprising management of this exuberant lady the new blue dress soon arrived from the dressmaker's, bearing at its throat a white favor in the shape of a good-sized bill. But then the dress was handsome and stylish, and Susan when duly arrayed in it did indeed seem made over.

"Susie, you look really handsome," Gertrude said when she had wound her sister's abundant chestnut hair into a stylish coil, and had arranged with artistic touches the inevitable laces and ribbons. "Just come to the glass and look at yourself."

To the mirror went Susan—poor Susan who had always thought herself plain—and there, sure enough, was a handsome face looking into hers, growing momently handsomer with surprise and pleasure kindling in the eye and spreading over cheek and brow.

Susan, be it understood, was by no means an ill-favored woman even in her old-fashioned dress. She had a very good complexion, blue eyes, large and dark and warm; and a mouth of some character, with mobile lips and bright even teeth. But nobody had ever called her handsome till to-day, neither had anybody called her plain. She had simply passed unmarked. But what she had all along needed was somebody to develop her resources, somebody to do just what had been done to-day—to get her into a dress that would bring out her clear complexion, that would harmonize with the shade of her earnest eyes; to take her hair out of that hard twist at the back of the head, and lay it tiara-like, a bright mass, above the brow; to substitute soft lace for stiff, glazed linen, and a graceful knot of ribbon for that rectangular piece of gold with a faded ambrotype in it called a breastpin. And, too, she needed that walk she took in the crisp air to bring the glow into her cheek; and then she needed that meeting with Mr. Falconer, which chanced in that walk, to heighten the glow and to brighten her already pleased eyes. The meeting took place at the door of her house. It was an arrested, lingering look which he gave her, and doubtless it was the character of this [pg 449] look, conscious and significant, that deepened the glow in her face,

"I wonder if I affected him like a fine picture or a fine strain of music?" Susan asked herself in passing him.

"Miss Summerhaze must be acting on the hint I gave her," thought Mr. Falconer; and he went on with a little smile about his mouth. It pleased him to think he had influenced her.

Thus it was that this man and this woman came to think of each other. And now you are guessing that this thinking of each other advanced into a warmer interest—that these two people fell in love if they were not too far gone in years for such nonsense. Well for us all that there are hearts that are never too old for the sweet nonsense—the nonsense that is more sensible than half the philosophy of the sages. Your guess is so good that I should feel chagrined if I were one of those writers who delight in mysteries and in surprising the reader. But my highest aim is to tell a straight-forward story, so I acknowledge the guess correct, so far, at least, as my Susan is concerned. I have said that the romance in her nature died hard; but it never died at all. This man, this almost stranger, was rousing it as warmth and light stir the sleeping asphodels of spring. The foolish Susan came to think of Mr. Falconer whenever she made her toilet—to thrill at every sight of him and at his lightest word. But this was not till after many other meetings and interviews than those this story has recorded. As Mr. Falconer was frequently at the house which Susan built, and as this was less than a block removed from the one she occupied, there naturally occurred many a chance meeting, when some significant glance or word would send Susan's heart searching for its meaning.

And these chance meetings were not all.

"Who was it that called, Susie?" Gertrude asked one evening when her sister came up from a half-hour's interview with some one in the parlor.

"The gentleman who rents my house," Susan replied, her face turned from Gertrude.

"What is he for ever coming here for?"

"He came to tell me that there were some screws loose in a door-hinge," Susan answered.

"For pity's sake!" exclaimed Gertrude. "That's a great thing to come bothering about! Why didn't he get a screw-driver and screw up the screws?"

"It's my place to keep the house in order," said Susan.

"The report of things out of order usually sets landlords in a feaze, but you keep as serene as the moon with your tenant's complaints. He's always finding something out of order, which seems strange, considering that the house is brand-new."

Not many days after Gertrude had occasion to repeat her question to Susan: "Who was it called?"

She received the reply she was expecting: "The man who rents my house."

"Indeed! What's the matter now? another screw loose?" Gertrude asked.

"He wanted to suggest an alteration in the pantry."

"Why, he's for ever wanting alterations made! I don't see how you can be so patient with his criticisms: we all know you are house-proud. I wouldn't listen to that man: he'll ruin your house with his improvements. I don't know, anyhow, what he can mean by saying in one breath that it is a perfect house, and in the next asking for an alteration."

"I'm sure I don't know," said Susan; and then her heart went into a happy wondering as to what Mr. Falconer could mean.

"What is it this time?" Gertrude asked about three days after in reference to "the man who rents my house," as described by Susan. "Does he want another story put on your house?"

"No, he simply wanted to say that it would suit him to pay the rent semi-monthly, instead of monthly," Susan answered somewhat warmly.

"And, pray, what's his notion for that?" Gertrude asked.

"I didn't inquire," replied Susan shortly, resenting the evident criticism in her sister's tone.

[pg 450]

But Susan did inquire why it was—inquired not of Mr. Falconer, but of her own heart.

"I don't see any reason for his making two errands to do a thing that could be done in one call. Instead of putting off pay-day, after the manner of most men, he proposes to anticipate it. Well, perhaps you and he understand it: I don't."

Why was this? Was it because it would double his visits to her? Was Susan vain or foolish that she thus questioned herself?

It was perhaps a little singular that Mr. Falconer's name had never passed between these two sisters; neither had Gertrude ever seen the gentleman who made these frequent business-calls on Susan.

"The man who rents my house:" this reply told something—all that Gertrude cared to know on the subject; whereas the reply, "Mr. Falconer," would have conveyed no information. And because the name had never been mentioned Susan was startled one morning after one of Gertrude's fine parties. She was sitting at the window with a new magazine while the young people talked over the party.

"I liked him so much," said Gertrude. "He says such bright, sensible things: he's so original. Some men are good to dance, and some are good to talk: he's good for both."

"I heard him when he asked for an introduction to you," said Brother Tom. "He designated you as the young lady in the blonde dress: then he said, 'Her dress is exquisite—just the color of golden hair. I never saw a more beautiful toilette.'"

"Isn't that delightful?" cried Gertrude in a transport. "You precious old Tom, to hear that! I'll give you a kiss for it."

"I wonder," said Brother Tom, recovering, "if he can be the same Falconer I've heard the boys talk about?"

Susan had been hearing in an indolent way the talk between Tom and Gertrude, but now her heart was bounding, and she was listening intently.

"They tell about a Falconer who holds rather suspicious relations with a handsome woman somewhere in the city. He rents a house for her where she lives all alone, except that there's a baby and a servant-girl."

Alas for Susan! she knew but too well that this was her Mr. Falconer.

Tom continued: "The fellows have quizzed him about his lady, and have tried to find out who she is, and how he's connected with her, but he's close as a clam about the matter."

"Perhaps it's a widowed sister," Gertrude suggested.

"Then why doesn't he say so? and why doesn't he go there and live with her, instead of boarding at a hotel? and why doesn't she ever go out with him? They say she never goes out at all, but keeps hid away there like a criminal."

"I'd like to know how the fellows, as you call them, could have found all this out unless they employ spies?" Gertrude spoke testily, feeling a strong inclination to stand up for the man who had paid her a handsome compliment. "There probably are two Falconers. I know there's nothing wrong about my Mr. Falconer, otherwise Mr. Richmond wouldn't have introduced him to me."

"I wish I had thought to inquire if he's the man, but till this moment I've not thought of that talk of the boys since I heard it. It takes women to remember scandal and repeat it," said Brother Tom sagely. "But I'll inquire about it, Gerty. Don't go to dreaming about Mr. Falconer till I find out."

"Hold your tongue, you great idjiot!" said Gertrude, wrapping with lazy grace a bright shawl about her and settling herself on a sofa to nap off the party drowsiness. "Go on down town and find out," she continued, her heavily-lashed lids dropping over the sleepy eyes: "go along!"

So Tom went down town, Gertrude went to sleep, and Susan was left to her thoughts. What had these thoughts been about all these weeks that the question had never arisen as to the connection between Mr. Falconer and the woman who occupied her house, "Who is she?" Now, indeed, Susan asked the question with a burning at her heart. [pg 451] If she was simply a friend or a sister, why this reticence and mystery of which Tom had spoken? If she was his wife, why any reticence or mystery? Besides, Mr. Falconer had said he was a bachelor.

Susan could contrive no answers to these questions that brought any relief to her vexed heart. She had no courage to make inquiries of others, lest the character of her interest might be discovered. Guilt made her cowardly.

She was yet turning the matter over and over when Brother Tom returned. She scanned his face with a keen scrutiny, eager to get at what he had learned, yet not daring to ask a question.

When Tom had pinched Gertrude's drowsy ear into consciousness he poured into it this unwelcome information: "I've found out that your Mr. Falconer is the man. But who the lady is I have not been able to discover. She is an inscrutable mystery—a good heroine for Wilkie Collins."

"Who told you?" Gertrude demanded in a challenging tone.

"Jack Sidmore: he knows your Mr. Falconer well. Why, Falconer's no new man: he's an old resident here. He's of the firm of Falconer, Trowbridge & Co., grain-dealers on Canal street. You know Phil Trowbridge?"

"I'm sure there's nothing wrong about Mr. Falconer, or he wouldn't have been at Minnie Lathrop's party." said Gertrude resolutely.

"Well, Jack Sidmore knows the gentleman, and he says there is no doubt he has suspicious relations with Miss or Madam The-Lord-knows-who. So, you see, you're to drop Mr. Falconer like a hot potato—to give him the cut direct."

"It would be a shame to if he's all right, and I feel certain he is," said Gertrude, still showing fight.

"Now, look here, Gert: don't be foolish. It won't do to compromise yourself. Be advised by me: I'm your guardian angel, you know. You can spare Mr. Falconer: your train will be long enough with him cut off."

"He's the most interesting acquaintance I've made this winter," said Gertrude persistently.

"Don't you say so, Sue? Oughtn't Gertrude to cut him? You've heard what we've been talking about, haven't you?"

"Please don't appeal to me," Susan managed to say without lifting her eyes from the blurred page before her.

She had been more than once on the point of telling Gertrude and Tom what she knew about Mr. Falconer—that it was her house he had rented for his friend, etc. But everything about the matter was so indefinite. She was fearful of exposing her unhappy heart, and she had withal some vague hope of unsnarling the tangled skein when she should find opportunity to think. So she allowed them to finish up their discussion and to leave the room without a hint of the facts in her knowledge.

When they had gone the set, statuesque features relaxed. A stricken look settled like a shadow over them. You would have said, "It will never depart: that face can never brighten again."

The thing in Susan's heart was not despair. There was the suffering that comes from the blight of a sweet hope, from the rude dispossession of a good long withheld. But overriding everything else was humiliation—a feeling of degradation, such as some deed of shame would engender. Her spirit was in the dust, for she knew now that she had given her love unasked. Was not this enough, after all the years of longing and dreary waiting and sickening commonplace? Could not the Fates have let her off from this cup, so bitter to a proud woman's lips? Why should she be delivered over to an unworthy love? Why should they exact this uttermost farthing of anguish her heart could pay? But is he unworthy? is this proved? asked the sweet voice of Hope. Then the face which you were sure could never brighten, did brighten, but, alas! so little; for there was another voice, a voice that dismayed: "Why otherwise the silence, the mystery?" Persistently the question was repeated, till Mrs. Summerhaze came in and asked Susan to do some marketing for dinner.

"You look all fagged, anyway: the fresh air 'll be good for you."

[pg 452]

So Susan put on her bonnet and went out, feeling there was nothing could do her any good. She drew her veil down, the better to shut away her suffering from people, and a little way from home turned into a meat-market. She was in the centre of the shop before she discovered Mr. Falconer a few yards away, his back turned to her. She involuntarily caught at her veil to make sure it was closely drawn. She held it securely down, and hurried away at random to the remotest part of the shop, though her ear was all the while strained to hear what Mr. Falconer was saying.

He was ordering sundry packages to be sent to No. 649 North Jefferson street—Susan's house. In her remote corner, from behind her veil, with eager eyes Susan looked at the face that to her had been so noble, at the form which had seemed full of graceful strength. She would have yielded up her life there to have had that face and form now as it had been to her. He went out of the shop, and she went about making her purchases in a dazed kind of way that caused the shopman to stare. Then she wandered up the street past her home to 649 North Jefferson street, to the house she had built with such abounding pride and pleasure. How changed it now seemed! It had become a haunted house—haunted by the ghosts of her faith and peace.

For three days Susan as much as possible kept away from the family, and appeared very much engaged with Prescott's Conquest of Peru. But at the breakfast-table on the third day she received a start. Gertrude and Tom had been at a party the evening before. (They averaged some four parties a week.) Tom looked surly and Gertrude defiant.

"Why, Tom, what's the matter with you?" the mother asked. "'Pears to me I never did see you so pouty as you be this morning. What's gone crooked?"

"Perhaps Gertrude can inform you," Tom answered severely.

Gertrude flushed with annoyance, but tossed her head.

"Why, what's happened, Gertrude?"

"Nothing for Tom to make such a fuss about. He's mad at me because I won't insult a gentleman who is invited to the best houses, and who is received by the most particular young ladies of my acquaintance."

"At any rate," retorted Tom, "I heard Jack Sidmore tell his sister that she was not to recognize Mr. Falconer. I have warned Gertrude that a great many people believe him to be a suspicious character, and some know him to be such, so far as women are concerned, and yet last night Gertrude accepted his company home."

"Hadn't you gone home with Delia Spaulding? Was I to come trapesing home alone?" said Gertrude by way of justification.

"Now, Gert, be fair: didn't I tell you that I'd be back immediately?"

"Yes, but I knew something about the length of your 'immediatelies' when Delia Spaulding was concerned."

"You might have had Phil Trowbridge as an escort."

"Phil Trowbridge! I hate him!" said Gertrude with such vehemence that the very line which parted her hair was crimsoned.

"Well, what's that other man done?" asked the mother, who had not lost her interest in the original question. "What do folks have against him?"

"Why, he's rented a house and set up a woman in it, and nobody knows who she is, and he won't let out a word about her. If she's an honest wife or his sister or a reputable friend, why the deuce doesn't he say so? Jack Sidmore says there isn't any doubt but that the woman is Falconer's mistress, to speak in plain English. Hang it! Gertrude can't take a hint."

"Falconer! Why, Susan, ain't that the name of the man who rented your house?" cried the mother.

Susan felt all their eyes turned on her, and knew that she was cornered. So she said "Yes," and raised her coffee-cup to her lips, but set it down quickly, as she felt her hand trembling.

"And did he rent it for a lady friend?" Tom asked, putting a significant stress on the last two words.

[pg 453]

"He did," Susan answered.

"And is there living in your house, right here beside us, a mysterious woman with a baby?" Gertrude asked eagerly.

"There's a woman living in my house, and she has a little girl," said Susan on the defensive.

"And does Mr. Falconer visit her?"

"Perhaps so: I have no spies out."

"Why, Susie! how strange! You never told me a word about it. I never dreamed that Mr. Falconer was the man who had rented your house, and who has been running here so much," Gertrude said.

"Well, I'd get that woman out of my house as quick as ever I could if I was you, Susan," said Mrs. Summerhaze. "Like as not the house will get a bad name, so you'll have trouble renting it."

"I'm more concerned about Gertrude's name," Tom said.

Gertrude's eyes flashed daggers at Tom.

"Of course Gertrude mustn't keep company with Mr. Falconer," said the mother. "Young girls can't be too particular who they 'sociate with."

Susan said nothing on the subject, though by far the most concerned of the party on her sister's account. It was significant and alarming, the warmth and persistence with which Gertrude defended Mr. Falconer. It was evident that her interest was in some way enlisted. Was it sympathy she felt, or was hers a generous stand against a possible injustice? Whatever the feeling, there was danger in this young and ardent girl becoming the partisan of an interesting man. Yet how could she, the involved, bewildered Susan, dare warn Gertrude? How could she ever do it? Would it not seem even to her own heart that she was acting selfishly? How could she satisfy her own conscience that she was not moved by jealousy? Besides, what could she say? Gertrude knew all that she could tell her of Mr. Falconer and his relations—knew everything except that she, Susan, had loved—and, alas! did yet love unasked—this unworthy man.

Ought she, as her mother had advised, demand possession of her house? She shrunk from striking at a man—above all, this man—whom so many were assaulting. No. She would leave God to deal with him. Besides, there might be nothing wrong. All might yet be explained, all might yet be set to rights, all—unless, unless Gertrude—Oh, why should there arise this new and terrible complication? Gertrude with her youth and beauty and enthusiasm—why must she be drawn into the wretchedness?

For days, feverish, haunted days, Susan went over and over these questions and speculations. In the mean time, Tom entered another complaint against Gertrude. "She gave the greater part of last evening to the fellow," he said.

"The party was stiff and stupid: Margaret Pillsbury's parties always are—no dancing, no cards. Mr. Falconer was the only man there who could say anything." This was Gertrude's defence, given with some confusion, and with more of doggedness than defiance in her tone.

"I told you, Gertrude, you had ought to stop keeping company with Mr. Falconer," said her mother.

"If she doesn't stop, she will force me to insult the gentleman," said Brother Tom resolutely.

Gertrude looked at the speaker as though she would like to bite him with all her might.

"Now, don't go to getting into a fuss," the mother said to Tom. "Gertrude must stop, or else she'll have to stop going to parties and stay to home."

Gertrude did not speak, but Susan, glancing up, saw a set look in the young face that struck a terror to her heart. She believed that she could interpret her sister's every look and mood—that she knew Gertrude by heart.

"By their opposition they are only strengthening her interest:" this was Susan's conclusion.

In the mean time, Mr. Falconer's next pay-day was approaching. With a dreadful kind of fascination Susan counted the hours that must bring the interview with him. She longed yet dreaded to meet [pg 454] him. Would he look changed to her? would she seem changed to him? How should she behave? how would he behave? Would she be able to maintain a calm coldness, or would her conscious manner betray her mistrust, her wounded heart? So great, at times, grew her dread of the meeting that she was tempted to absent herself, and to ask her mother or Tom to see Mr. Falconer and receive the rent-money. But she did not dare trust either of these. Tom might take that opportunity of conveying the insult with which he had threatened Mr. Falconer, while the plain-spoken mother would be certain to forbid him Gertrude's society, and probably give him notice to vacate Susan's house. No, she must stay at home and abide the meeting; and, after all, what would she not rather do and suffer than miss it?

But an interview with Mr. Falconer came sooner than Susan had anticipated. It was in the early evening, immediately after tea, that the servant brought her Mr. Falconer's card, on which was written, "An emergency! May I see you immediately?"

Susan hid the card in her dress-pocket, and went wondering and blundering down stairs and into the parlor.

Mr. Falconer rose and came quickly forward. His manner was nervous and hurried; "I thank you for this prompt response to my appeal, Miss Summerhaze. You can do a great kindness for me; and not for me only—you can serve a woman who is in sore need of a friend."

Susan's heart was ready to leap from her bosom. Was she to be asked to befriend this woman toward whom people's eyes were turning in mistrust, and about whom their lips were whispering?

"May I depend on you?" Mr. Falconer asked.

"Go on," said Susan vaguely.

"But may I depend upon you? upon your secresy?"

"In all that is honest you may depend upon me," she replied.

"Briefly, then. The lady for whom I rented your house is my sister. I could never tell you her story: it ought never to be told. But the man she married betrayed all her trust, and made her life one long nightmare of horrors. At length, in a drunken fury one wretched autumn night, in the rain and sleet, he turned her and her baby into the street at midnight, and bolted the doors against them. Then she resolved to fly from him and be rid of him for ever. A train was about leaving the dépôt, some three blocks distant. Without bonnet or shawl, the damp ice in her hair and on her garments, she entered the car, the only woman in it. She came to me. Thank God! she had me to come to!"

Mr. Falconer was crying; so was Susan.

"The beneficent law gives the child to the father," Mr. Falconer continued. "The father is now in the city seeking the child. He has his detectives at work, and I have mine. In his very camp there is a man in my service. Fortunately, I out-money him. Now, my sister knows of Patterson's being here. (The man's name is Patterson.) She has grown pitifully nervous, and is full of apprehension. She is very lonely. I must get her away from that house, and yet I must keep her here with me: she has no one else to look to. I don't know, Miss Summerhaze, why I should come to you for help when there are hundreds of others here whom I have known so much longer. I am following an impulse."

He paused and looked at Susan, as if waiting for her reply. Happy Susan! Eager, trembling, her face glowing with a tender enthusiasm, a tearful ecstasy, feeling that it would be sweet to die in the service of this man whom her thoughts had so wronged, she gave her answer: "I am so glad you have come to me! Anything on earth I can do to aid you I will do with all my heart—as for myself. Let your sister come here if that will suit you."

It was what he wanted.

"I am sorry I have not made your sister's acquaintance: would it be convenient for me to go with you this evening and get acquainted with her?"

"Perfectly convenient, and I should be glad to have you go."

[pg 455]

"I will bring my bonnet and shawl, and we will go at once."

"If you please."

Susan quickly crossed the parlor, but stopped at the door: "Perhaps your sister would feel more secure and more at peace to come to us right away—to-night. Sha'n't I bring her away to-night?"

"It would be a great mercy if you would do so, Miss Summerhaze," Mr. Falconer replied with an earnest thankfulness in his voice.

"Then please wait a few minutes till I explain things a little to my mother;" and with a quick, light step Susan hurried away.

Great were the surprise and interest awakened in the household by the revelation she made in the next ten minutes.

"Have her come right along to-night, poor thing!" the mother said, overflowing with sympathy.

Gertrude was triumphant. There was a warm glow on her cheek, and such a happy light in her eyes as Susan afterward remembered with a pang. "She had better have my room: it is so much more cheerful than the guest-chamber," Gertrude said.

Even Brother Tom, though demonstrated to have been on the wrong side, was pleased, for he was good-natured and generous in his light manner.

So Susan went back to Mr. Falconer, feeling that she had wings and could soar to the heavens. And she was happier yet as she walked that half block, her arm in his, feeling its warmth and strength. It is all very well to speculate in stocks and to build houses, but for such hearts as Susan's there is perhaps something better.

Too soon for one of them their brief walk was ended, and Susan sat in the neat, plainly-furnished parlor waiting the return of Mr. Falconer, who had gone to seek his sister. When at length the door opened, Susan sat forgetful, her gaze intent on the rare face that appeared by Mr. Falconer's side. It was not that the face was beautiful, though perhaps it was, or had been. It was picturesque, made so in great measure by a stricken look it had, and a strange still whiteness. It was one of those haunting faces that will not let themselves be forgotten—a face that solemnized, because it indexed the mortal agony of a human soul.

"Miss Summerhaze, this is my sister, Mrs. Patterson." said Mr. Falconer,

With a sweet cordiality of manner the lady held out her hand: "My brother has often told me about you: I am very glad to make your acquaintance."

Susan was greatly interested. "And I am very glad too," she said, a tremor in her voice. She wanted to run away and cry off the great flood of sympathy that was choking her. "Dear lady, may I kiss you?" she wanted to say. "Poor dear! she needs brooding." This Susan thought, and she wished she dared put out her arms and draw the sad face to her bosom, the sad heart against her own.

They talked over their plans, and then Mrs. Patterson and the little girl went home with Susan.

During Mrs. Patterson's stay with the Summerhazes, Mr. Falconer made frequent calls, though his movements were marked by great caution, lest they might betray the pursued wife to her husband. These calls were of a general character, designed for the household, and not exclusively for Mrs. Patterson. And they were continued after the lady had returned to No. 649. But they were to Susan tortures. They were but opportunities for noting the interest between Mr. Falconer and Gertrude. This was evident not alone to Susan, or she might have had some chance of charging it to the invention of her jealousy. Tom and Mrs. Summerhaze had both remarked it.

"He's well to do, Tom says, and stands respectable with the business-men," the mother commented to Susan; "and Gertrude 'pears fond of him, and he does of her; so I can't see any good reason why they shouldn't marry if they want one another. Anyhow, it's better for girls to marry and settle down and learn to housekeep—"

"Yes, yes," cried Susan's heart with pathetic impatience, "it's better, but—"

"Instead of going to parties in thin [pg 456] shoes and cobweb frocks: I wonder they don't all take the dipthery. And then they set up till morning. I couldn't ever stand that: I'd be laid up with sick headache every time. Besides, they eat them unhealthy oysters and Charlotte rooshes, and such like: no wonder so many people get the dyspepsy. Yes, I think Gertrude had better take Mr. Falconer if he wants her to. Ain't that your mind about it, Susan?"

"She had better accept him if—if—they love each other." Then Susan grew faint and soul-sick, and something in her heart seemed to die, as though she had spoken the fatal words that made them each other's for ever—that cut her loose from her sweet romance and sent her drifting into the gloom.

That evening Mr. Falconer called. Susan said she was not well, and kept her room. Gertrude had planned to go to the opera with Tom, but she decided to remain at home. Long after Tom had gone out Susan in her chamber above could hear from the parlor the murmur of voices—Mr. Falconer's and Gertrude's. They were low and deep: the topic between them was evidently no light one. While she listened her imagination was busy concerning their subject, their attitudes, their looks, and even their words. And every imagining was such a pain that she tried to close her ear against their voices. Then she went to her mother's room. Here, being forced to reply to commonplaces when all her thought was strained to the parlor, she was soon driven back to her own chamber. She turned the gas low and lay on a lounge, her face buried in the cushion, abandoned to a wrecked feeling.

After a time she heard some one enter her room. She sat up, and saw Gertrude standing beside her, the gas turned high. She wished her sister would go away: she hated the sight of that beautiful, glad face. She turned her eyes away from it, and then, ashamed to begrudge the young thing her happiness, she lifted her stained lids, to Gertrude's face and smiled all she possibly could. She tried in that moment to feel glad that the disappointment and grief had come to her instead of Gertrude. Her heart was inured to a hard lot, but Gertrude's had always been sheltered. It would be a pity to have it turned out into the cold: her own had long been used to chill and to hunger.

"Susie, won't you go with us sleigh-riding to-morrow evening?" Gertrude asked. "Mr. Falconer and I have planned a sleighing-party for to-morrow evening. They say the sleighing is perfectly superb."

"Is that what you've been doing?" Susan asked, feeling somehow that there would be a relief in hearing that it was all.

"That's a part of what we've been doing." A rosy glow came into Gertrude's cheek, and the old mean, jealous feeling came back into Susan's heart. "Mr. Falconer wants you to go," said Gertrude.

"He does not," Susan returned in a fierce tone. She was forgetting herself: her heart was giddy and blind with the sudden wave of bitterness that came pouring over it. "He wants you: nobody wants me. Go away!"

"Of course I'll go away if you want me to," Gertrude replied, pouting and looking injured, but yet lingering at Susan's side. She had come to tell something, and she didn't wish to be defrauded of the pleasure. "I guess you're asleep yet, Susie. Wake up and look at this;" and Gertrude held her beautiful white hand before Susan's eyes, and pointed to a superb solitaire diamond that blazed like a star on her finger. She sat down beside her sister. "I'm engaged, Susie, and I came up here to ask your blessing, and you're so cross to me;" and Gertrude put her head on Susan's shoulder and shed a few tears.

Susan could have cried out with frantic pain. "But," she thought, "I knew it was coming. After all, I am glad to have the suspense ended—to be brought to face the matter squarely."

In response to Gertrude's reproach Susan said in a low tone that was almost a whisper, "I congratulate you: I think you are doing well."

"Of course I'm doing well," Gertrude said, lifting her head and speaking with [pg 457] triumphant animation. "He's wealthy and handsome, and half the girls in our set are dying for him. But we've been about the same as engaged for months. But about two weeks ago we had an awful quarrel, all about nothing. But we were both so spunky I don't believe we ever would have made up in the wide world if it hadn't been for Mr. Falconer. He just went back and forth between us until I agreed to grant Phil an interview. So Phil came round to-night; and don't you believe the conceited thing brought the ring along!"

Susan was listening with wide-opened, staring eyes, like one in a trance. It wasn't Mr. Falconer, then; and who in the world was Phil? Was she awake? Had she heard aright? Yes, there was the ring and there was Gertrude, and she was still speaking: "I've already picked out my bridesmaids, I'm going to have Nellie Trowbridge—Phil's sister, you know—she's going to stand with Tom; and you're going to stand with Mr. Falconer, because he's the senior partner in Phil's firm: and then I'm going to have Delia Spaulding and Minnie Lathrop, because they'll make a good exhibition, they're so stylish."

On and on Gertrude went, talking of white satin and tulle and lace and bridal veils and receptions. And Susan sat and listened with a happy light in her eyes, and now and then laughed a little glad laugh or spoke some sweet word of sympathy.

At a late hour in the night Susan put her arms around her sister and kissed the happy young face once, twice, three times, and said, in no whisper now, "God bless you, dear!" Then Gertrude went away to happy dreams, and left Susan to happy thoughts—at last.

No, not at last. The "at last" did not come till the next evening, when by Mr. Falconer's side, warm and snug under the great wolf-robe, Susan heard something. With the something there came at length to the tired, hungry, waiting heart the thrill, the transport, the enchanted music that makes this earth a changed world.



Dear! since they laid thee underneath the snow

But one brief year with all its days hath past.

Methought its hurrying moments flew too fast:

I would have had them lingering, move more slow;

For of the past one happy thing I know,

That thou wert of it; but these swift days flee,

And bear me to a future void of thee.

Yet still I feel that ever as I go

I know thee better, and I love thee more.

As one withdraws from a tall mountain's base

To see its summit, bright, remote and high,

So hath my heart through distance learnt its lore,

The knowledge of thy soul's most secret grace—

Those silent heights that lose themselves in sky.


[pg 458]


To the Editor of Lippincot's Magazine:

SIR: There are few pleasanter ways of passing a desultory hour than haphazard reading amongst old numbers of a good magazine. I say advisedly "a desultory hour," for when it comes to more than that the habit is apt to become demoralizing. And, excellent as many English magazines are, I must own that for this particular purpose I give the preference to our American cousins. It would not be easy to say precisely why, but so it is. One feels lighter after them than one does after the same time given to their English confrères. It may be that there is more abandon, more tumbling in them—much more of that borderland writing (if one may use the phrase) so good, as I think, for magazine purposes, which you skim with a kind of titillating doubt in your mind whether it is jest or earnest—whether you are to take seriously, or the writer intended you to take seriously, what he is telling you; and so you may drop into a sort of dreamy Alice-in-Wonderland state, prepared to accept whatever comes next in a purely receptive condition, and without any desire to ask questions.

It was in such a frame of mind, and with considerable satisfaction, that I found myself some time since sitting in a friend's house with a spare corner of time on my hands, in a comfortable armchair, and a number of old Lippincotts on the table by my side, the odds and ends of the collection of a young countrywoman of mine of literary and Transatlantic tastes. I glanced through some half dozen numbers taken up at hazard, recognizing here and there an old friend—for I have been an on-and-off reader in these pages for years—and getting just pleasantly pricked with a number of new ideas, as to which I felt no responsibility—no need of ticketing or labeling or packing them—when I came suddenly upon a paper which sharply roused me from my mood of laisser aller. It was by your accomplished and amusing contributor Lady Blanche Murphy, and the subject just such a one as one would wish to happen on under the circumstances—Slains Castle, one of the oldest and most romantic of the grim palace-keeps which are dotted over Scotland, round which legends cluster so thick that there is not one of their towers, scarcely a slender old mullioned window, which is not specially connected with some stirring tale of love, war or crime. But Slains stands pre-eminent among Scotch castles on other grounds, and has an interest which the doings of the earls of Errol, its lords, could never have won for it. The Wizard of the North has thrown his spell over it, and, whether Sir Walter Scott intended it or not, Slains is accepted now as the Elangowan Castle in Guy Mannering.

Now, with all these rich stores to work on, these exceeding many flocks and herds of Northern legend and glamour, Lady Blanche should surely have been content, and not have descended into the South of England, upon a quiet country-house in Berkshire, to seize its one ewe lamb and claim that the heroine of the story which I hope to tell before I get to the end of my paper was none other than the termagant Countess Mary, hereditary lord high constable of Scotland, and the owner of Slains Castle at the beginning of last century.

Sir, I am bound to admit that this audacious claim spoilt my wanderings up and down the pages of your excellent magazine, and I resolved that whenever I should find time I would write to you to revindicate the claims of the "Berkshire Lady" to be native born and entirely unconnected with the Countess Mary or Slains Castle. I can scarcely remember the time when I did not know the story, which indeed all Berkshire boys—or at any rate all Bath-road Berkshire boys—took as regularly as measles [pg 459] in early youth. But let me explain to New-World readers what I mean by a Bath-road Berkshire boy. Our royal county of Berks is in shape somewhat like a highlow or ancle-jack boot with the toe toward London, and at the tip of the toe Windsor Castle, which, as we all know, looks down on the Thames as it finally leaves the county, of which it has formed the northern boundary for more than one hundred miles. The sweet river—for in spite of all pollution it is still sweet at Windsor—has run all along the top of the boot and down the instep, and along the toes, taking Oxford, Abingdon, Wallingford, Henley, Reading and Maidenhead in its way, with other places historically interesting in a small way over here, but which would scarcely be known by name even in the best-drilled classes of your public schools. Along the sole of the boot, from the heel at Hungerford, but sloping gently upward till it joins the Thames at Reading, runs another stream (a river we call it in little England)—

The Kennet swift, for silver eels renowned.

Now, before the Great Western Railway had opened up the county the only main line of road which passed through it was the great Bath road, which entered near the toe at Windsor and ran along the sole for the greater part of the way by the side of the Kennet to the extreme heel at Hungerford. All the northern part of the county—the Thames valley and Vale of White Horse, and the hill-district which separates these from the Vale of Kennet—was at that time pierced only by cross-country roads, and remained during the pre-railroad era one of the most primitive districts of the West of England. Its inhabitants retained their broad drawling speech, very slightly modified from Tudor times, and looked with a mixture of distrust and envy even on their fellow county brethren in the Kennet Valley, who were being demoralized by their daily intercourse with London through the constantly growing traffic of the Bath road. Along that thoroughfare, besides strings of post-chaises, vans and wagons, ran daily more than one hundred coaches most of which started from Bristol, and made the journey to London in the day. The best of them did their ten miles an hour, and so punctually that many of the inhabitants preferred setting their watches by the "York House." the "Tantivy" or the "Bristol Mail" rather than by the village clock. It were much to be desired that their gigantic successor would follow their excellent example more faithfully in this matter.

Notwithstanding the distrust with which we of the back country were bred to regard the metropolitan varnish which was thus undermining the ancient Berkshire habits and speech along our one great artery, it was always, I am bound to admit, a high day for the dweller in uncorrupted Berkshire when business or pleasure drew him from his home in the downs or rich pastures of the primitive northern half of the county by devious parish ways to the nearest point on the great Bath road, where he was to meet the coach which would carry him in a few hours "in amongst the tide of men." I can still vividly recall the pleasing thrill of excitement which ran through us when we caught the first faint clink of hoof and roll of wheels, which told of the approach of the coach before the leaders appeared over the brow of the gentle slope some two hundred yards from the cross-roads, where, recently deposited from the family phaeton (dog-carts not having been yet invented), we had been waiting with our trunk beside us in joyful expectation. Thrice happy if, as the coach pulled up to take us on board, we heard the inspiring words "room in front," and proceeded to scramble up and take our seats behind the box, waving a cheerful adieu to the sober family servant as he turned his horse's head slowly homeward, his mission discharged.

The habit of our family, and of most others, was to attach ourselves to one particular coach or coachman on the road, as thus special attention was secured for ladies or children traveling alone, and preference as to places should there happen to be a glut of [pg 460] would-be passengers. I cannot honestly say that the old Bath-road coachman was, as a rule, an attractive member of society, though the mellowing effects of time and the traditions of the road (helped largely by the immortal sayings and doings of Mr. Tony Weller) have done much for his class. He was often a silent, short-tempered fellow, with a very keen eye for half-crowns, and no information to speak of as to the country which passed daily under his eyes. But there were plenty of exceptions to the rule, of whom Bob Naylor was perhaps the most remarkable example. He had no doubt been selected as our guardian on the road for his kindly and genial nature and great love of children, and for his repute as one of the safest of whips. But, besides these sterling qualities, he was gifted with irrepressible spirits, a good voice and ear, and a special delight in the exercise of them. To county magnate or parson or stranger seated by him on the box he could be as decorous as a churchwarden, and talk of politics or cattle or county business with all due solemnity. But he was only at his best when "the front" was occupied by boys, or at any rate with a strong sprinkling of boys, amongst whom he was quite at his ease, and who were even more eager to hear than he to sing and talk. And of both songs and talk he had a curious and ample store. Of songs his own special favorites, I remember, were a long ballad in which a faithful soldier is informed on his return to his native village that his own true love "lives with her own granny dear," which he, his mind running in military grooves, takes for "grenadier," with temporarily distressing results—though all comes right at last—and a lyrical description of an upset of his coach, the only one he ever had, written by a gifted hostler. But on call he could give "The Tight Little Island," "Rule Britannia" or any one of a dozen other insular melodies.

Then his talk was racy of his beloved road, of which he would recount the glories even in the days of its decline, when the cormorant iron way was already swallowing stage after stage of the best of it. He would narrate to us the doings and feats of mighty whips—notably of a never-to-be-forgotten dinner at the Pelican Inn, Newbury, to which were gathered the élite of the Bath-road cracksmen. At that great repast we heard how "for wittles there was trout, speckled like a dane dog, weal as wite as allablaster, sherry-wite-wine, red-port, and everything in season. Then for company there was Sir Pay (Sir H. Peyton), Squire Willy boys (Vielbois), Cherry Bob, Long Dick, and I; and where would you go to find five sech along any road out of London?" But his crowning story, which he never missed as he cracked his four bays along on the first stage west out of Reading, was that of the Berkshire Lady, which, alas! my gifted countrywoman has now laid covetous hands on and claimed for that dour Lady Mary Hay, hereditary lord high constable of Scotland,

The "Berkshire Lady" is so bound up in my mind with my early friend of the road, from whom I first heard it, that I have let Memory fairly run away with me. But now, if your readers will pardon me for this gossip, I will promise to stick to my text.

At the beginning of the last century the fortune of one of the last of the "Great Clothiers of the West," John Kendrick, was inherited by a young lady, his granddaughter, who thus became the mistress of Calcott Park, past which the Bath road runs, three miles to the west of Reading. The house stands some three hundred yards from the road, facing due south, with a background of noble timber behind it, and in front a gentle slope of fine green turf, on which the deer seem to delight in grouping themselves at the most picturesque points. Miss Kendrick is said to have been beautiful and accomplished, and it is certain that she was an eccentric young person, who turned a deaf ear to the suits of many wooers, for, as the ballad quoted by your contributor says—

Many noble persons courted

This young lady, 'tis reported;

But their labor was in vain:

They could not her love obtain.

[pg 461]

This metrical version of the story is, I fear, lost except the fragments which I shall quote; at least I have sought for it in vain in all likely quarters since reading Lady Blanche's article.

So Miss Kendrick lived a lonely and stately life in Calcott Park.

Now, at this time there was a young gentleman of the name of Benjamin Child, a barrister of the Temple, belonging to the western circuit, of which Reading is the first assize-town. He came of a family which had seen better days, but his ancestors had suffered in the civil war, and he had no fortune but his good looks. His practice was as slender as his means, but nevertheless he managed to ride the western circuit after the judges of assize. The arrival of the judges in a county-town in those days was a signal for hospitalities and festivities in which the circuit barristers were welcome guests, and one spring assizes Benjamin Child found himself at a wedding and ball, where no doubt he carried himself as a young gentleman of good birth and town breeding should.

Next morning he received at his lodgings a written challenge, which alleged that he had grievously injured the writer at the entertainments on the previous day, and appointed a meeting in Calcott Park on the following morning to settle the affair in mortal combat. In those days no gentleman could refuse such an invitation, and accordingly Child appeared at the appointed time and place, accompanied by another young barrister as his second. The rendezvous was at a spot near the present lodge, and the young men on arriving found the lawn occupied by two women in masks, while a carriage was drawn up under some trees hard by. They were naturally in some embarrassment, from which they were scarcely relieved when the ladies advanced to meet them, and Child learned that one of them was his challenger, the mortal offence being that he had won her heart at the Reading ball, and that she had come there to demand satisfaction.

So, now take your choice, says she—

Either fight or marry me.

Said he, Madam, pray, what mean ye?

In my life I ne'er have seen ye,

Pray, unmask, your visage show,

Then I'll tell you, ay or no.

Lady. I shall not my face uncover

Till the marriage rites are over.

Therefore, take you which you will—

Wed me, sir, or try your skill.

Benjamin Child retires to consult with his friend, who advises him—

If my judgment may be trusted,

Wed her, man: you can't be worsted.

If she's rich, you rise in fame;

If she's poor, you are the same.

This advice, coupled perhaps with the figure and appearance of his challenger, and the family coach in the background, prevails, and the two young men and the masked ladies drive to Tilchurst parish church, where the priest is waiting. After the ceremony the bride,

With a courteous, kind behavior,

Did present his friend a favor:

Then she did dismiss him straight,

That he might no longer wait.

They then drive, the bride still masked, to Calcott House, where he is left alone in a fair parlor for two hours, till

He began to grieve at last,

For he had not broke his fast.

Then the steward appears and asks his business, and

There was peeping, laughing, jeering,

All within the lawyer's hearing;

But his bride he could not see.

"Would I were at home!" said he.

At last the dénouement comes. The lady of the house appears and addresses him:

Lady. Sir, my servants have related

That some hours you have waited

In my parlor. Tell me who

In this house you ever knew?

Gentleman. Madam, if I have offended

It is more than I intended.

A young lady brought me here.

"That is true," said she, "my dear."

His challenger was the heiress of Calcott, where he lived with her for many years; and

Now he's clothed in rich attire,

Not inferior to a squire.

Beauty, honor, riches, store!

What can man desire more?

They had two daughters, through one of whom the property has descended to the Blagraves, the present owners.

And so ends the story of "The Berkshire [pg 462] Lady," and if it should meet the eye of your accomplished contributor I trust she will for ever hereafter give up all claim on behalf of Lady Mary Hay.

Perhaps, too, some of your readers may be led to visit the scene of these doings if they ever come to wander about the old country. Reading is only an hour from London now-a-days, and I will promise them that they will not easily find a fairer corner in all England. The Bath road, it is true, is now comparatively deserted, and no well-appointed coaches flash by in front of Calcott Park. But it is an easy three miles' walk or ride from Reading Station, and by missing one train the pilgrim may get a glimpse of English country-life under its most favorable aspects, while at the same time, if skeptical as to this "strange yet true narration," as the metrical chronicler calls it, he may at any rate satisfy himself as to the marriage of B. Child and the Berkshire Lady, and the birth of their two daughters, by inspecting the parish register at Tilchurst church for the years 1710 to 1713.



Mid homes eternal of the blessed

Erewhile beheld in trance of prayer,

A secret wish the saint possessed

To see the regions of despair.

The Power in whose omniscient ken

The thoughts of every heart abide

Sent him to those lost souls of men,

A splendid spirit for his guide—

Michael, the warrior, the prince

Of those before the throne who dwell,

The brightest of archangels since,

Eclipsed, the son of morning fell.

Down through the voids of light they sped

Till Heaven's anthems faintly rung

Through darkening space, and overhead

Earth's planets dim and dwindled hung.

Still downward into lurid gloom

The saint and angel took their way,

Moving within a clear cool room,

The light benign of heavenly day.

The wretched thronged on every side.

"Have mercy on us, radiant twain!

O Paul! beloved of God!" they cried,

"Pray Heaven for surcease of our pain."

"Weep, weep, unhappy ones, bewail!

We too our prayers and tears will lend:

Our supplication may prevail,

And haply God some respite send."

[pg 463]

Then upward from the lost there swept

Entreaty multitudinous,

As every wave of ocean wept:

"O Christ! have mercy upon us!"

And as their clamor rose on high

Beyond the pathway of the sun,

Heav'n's happy legions joined the cry,

Their voices melting into one.

The saint, up-gazing through the dew

Of pity brimming o'er his eyes,

Discerned in Heav'n's remotest blue

The Son of God lean from the skies.

Then through their agonies were heard

The tones which still'd the angry sea,

The voice of the Eternal Word:

"And do ye ask repose of me?

"Me whom ye pierced with curse and jeer,

Whose mortal thirst ye quenched with gall?

I died for your immortal cheer:

What profit have I of you all?

"Liars, traducers, proud in thought,

Misers! no offering of psalms

Or prayer or thanks ye ever brought—

No deed of penitence or alms."

Michael and Paul at that dread speech,

With all the myriads of Heaven,

Fell on their faces to beseech

Peace for the lost one day in seven.

The Son of God, who hearkens prayer,

In mercy to those souls forlorn

Bade that their torments should forbear

From Sabbath eve to Monday morn.

The torments swarmed forth at the gate—

Hell's solemn guardians let them pass:

Those awful cherubim who wait

All sorrowful surveyed the mass.

But from the lost a single cry,

Which rang rejoicing through the spheres:

"O blessed Son of God most high!

Two nights, a day, no pain or tears?"

"O Son of God, for ever blessed!

Praise and give thanks, all spirits sad:

A day, two nights of perfect rest?

So much on earth we never had!"

Footnote 1: (return)

See Fauriel, Hist. de la Poésie provençale, tom. i. ch. 8.

[pg 464]





Instead of going home when she left Steel's Corner, Leam turned up into the wood, making for the old hiding-place where she and Alick had so often sat in the first days of her desolation and when he had been her sole comforter. She was very sorrowful, and oppressed with doubts and self-reproaches. As she climbed the steep wood-path, her eyes fixed on the ground, her empty basket in her hand, and her heart as void of hope or joy as was this of flowers, she thought over the last hour as she might have thought over a death. How sorry she was that Alick had said those words! how grieved that he loved her like this, when she did not love him, when she could never have loved him if even she had not been a Spaniard and her mother's daughter!

But she did not wish that he was different from what he was, so that she might have been able to return his love. Leam had none of that shifting uncertainty, that want of a central determination, which makes so many women transact their lives by an If. She knew what she did not feel, and she did not care to regret the impossible, to tamper with the indefinite. She knew that she neither loved Alick nor, wished to love him. Whether she had unwittingly deceived him in the first place, and in the second ought to sacrifice herself for him, unloving, was each a question on which she pondered full of those doubts and self-reproaches that so grievously beset her.

As she was wandering drearily onward Mr. Gryce saw her from a side path. He struck off to meet her, smiling, for he had taken a strong affection for this strange and beautiful young creature, which he justified to himself as interest in her history.

This acute, suspicious and inquisitive old heathen had some queer notions packed away in his wallet of biological speculations—notions which supplemented the fruits of his natural gifts, and which he always managed to harmonize with what he already knew by more commonplace means. He had been long in the East, whence he had brought a cargo of half-scientific, half-superstitious fancies—belief in astrology, mesmerism, spiritualism, and cheiromancy the most prominent. He could cast a horoscope, summon departed spirits, heal the sick and read the reticent by mesmeric force, and explain the past as well as prophesy the future by the lines in the hand.

So at least he said; and people were bound to believe that he believed in himself when he said so. He had once looked at Leam's hand, and had seen something there which, translated by his rules, had helped him on the road that he had already opened for himself by private inquiry based on the likelihood of things. Crime, love, sorrow—it was no ordinary history that was printed in the lines of her feverish little palm, as it was no ordinary character that looked out from her intense pathetic face. There was something almost as interesting here as a meditation on the mystic Nirvana or a discourse on that persistent residuum of all myths—Maya, delusion.

It was to follow up the line thus opened to him that he had attached himself with so much zeal to his landlord, unsympathetic as such a man as Sebastian Dundas must needs be to a metaphysical and superstitious student of humanity, a born detective, shrewd, inquisitive and suspicious. But he attached himself for the sake of Leam and her future, saying often to himself, "By and by. She will come to me by and by, when I can be useful to her."

Meanwhile, Leam received his cares with the characteristic indifference of youth for the attentions of age. She [pg 465] was not at the back of the motives which prompted him, and thought him tiresome with his mild way of getting to know so many things that were no concern of his. The shrewd guesses which he was making, and the terrible mosaic that he was piecing together out of such stray fragments as he could pick up—and he was always picking them up—were hidden from her; and she understood nothing of the mingled surmise and certainty which made his interest in her partly retrospective and partly prophetic, as he fitted in bit by bit that hidden thing in the past or foresaw the discovery that must come in the future. She only thought him tiresome and inquisitive, and wished that he would not come so often to see papa.

It did not take a large amount of that faculty of thought-reading which Mr. Gryce claimed as so peculiarly his own to see that something unusual had happened to disturb poor Leam to-day. As she came on, so wrapped in the sorrow of her thoughts that the world around her was as a world that is dead—taking no heed of the flowers, the birds, the sweet spring scents, the glory of the deep-blue sky, while the flickering shadows of the budding branches played over her like the shadow of the net in which she had entangled herself—she looked the very embodiment of despair. Her face, never joyous, was now infinitely tragic. Her dark eyes were bright with the tears that lay behind them; her proud mouth had drooped at the corners; she was walking as one who neither knows where she is nor sees what is before her, as one for whom there is no sun by day and no stars for the night—lost to all sense but the one faculty of suffering. She did not even see that some one stood straight in the path before her, till "Whither and whence?" asked Mr. Gryce, barring her way.

Then she started and looked up. Evidently she had not heard him. He repeated the question with a difference. "Ah! good-morning to you, Miss Dundas. Where are you going? where have you been?" he said in his soft, low-pitched, lisping voice, with the provincial accent struggling through its patent affectation.

"I am going to the yew tree and I have been to Steel's Corner," she answered slowly, in her odd, almost mathematically exact manner of reply.

"From Steel's Corner! And how is that excellent young man, our deputy shepherd?" he asked.

"Better," she said with even more than her usual curtness, and she was never prolix.

"He has been fearfully ill, poor fellow!" said Mr. Gryce, in the manner of an ejaculation.

She looked at the flowers with which the wood was golden and azure. "Yes," was her not too eloquent assent.

"And you have been sorry?"

"Every one has been sorry," said Leam evasively.

"Yes, you have been sorry," he repeated: "I have read it in your face."

He had done nothing of the kind: he had guessed it from the fact of her daily visits, and he had surmised a special interest from that other group of facts which had first set him thinking—namely, that Steel's Corner owned a laboratory—two, for the matter of that; that old Dr. Corfield was a clever toxicologist; that Leam had stayed there during her father's honeymoon; and that her stepmother had died on the night of her arrival. "And your average Englishman calls himself a creature with brains and inductive powers!" was his unspoken commentary on the finding of the coroner's jury and the verdict of the coroner. "Bull is a fool," the old heathen used to think, hugging his own superior sagacity as a gift beyond those which Nature had allowed to Bull in the abstract.

"I have known him since I was a child. Of course, I have been sorry," said Leam coldly.

She disliked being questioned as much as being touched. The two, indeed, were correlative.

"Early friendships are very dear," said Mr. Gryce, watching her. He was opening the vein of another idea which he had long wanted to work.

She was silent.

[pg 466]

"Don't you think so?" he asked.

"They may be," was her reluctant answer.

"No, they are—believe me, they are. The happiest fate that man or woman can have is to marry the early friend—transform the playmate of childhood into the lover of maturity, the companion of age."

Leam made no reply. She was afraid of this soft-voiced, large-eyed, benevolent old man who seemed able to read the hidden things of life at will. It disturbed her that he should speak at this moment of the happiness lying in the fulfillment of youthful friendship by the way of mature love; and, proud and self-restrained as her bearing was, Mr. Gryce saw through the calmer surface into the disturbance beneath.

"Don't you think so?" he asked for the second time.

"How should I know?" Leam answered, raising her eyes, but not looking into her companion's face—looking an inch or two above his head. "I have seen too little to say which is best."

"True, my child, I had forgotten that," he said kindly. "Will you take my word for it, then, in lieu of your own experience?"

"That depends," said Leam. "What is good for one is not good for all."

"But safety is always good," returned Mr. Gryce, meaning to fall back on the safety of love and happiness if he had made a bad shot by his aim at safety from the detection of crime.

A scared look passed over Leam's face. It was a look that meant a cry. She pressed her hands together and involuntarily drew back a step, cowering. She felt as if some strong hand had struck her a heavy blow, and that it had made her reel. "You are cruel to say that. Why should I marry—?" She began in a defiant tone, and then she stopped. Was she not betraying herself for the very fear of discovery?

"Alick Corfield, for instance?" put in Mr. Gryce, at a venture. "He may serve for an illustration as well as any one else," he added with a soothing kind of indifference, troubled by the intense terror that came for one moment into her face. How soon he had startled her from her poor little hiding-place! How easy the assumption of extraordinary, powers based on the clever use of ordinary faculties! Your true magician is, after all, only your quiet and accurate observer. "You are not vexed that I speak of him when I want a name?" he asked, after a pause to give Leam time to regain her self-possession, to readjust the screen, to fasten once more the mask.

"Why should I be vexed?" she said in a low voice.

"He is not disagreeable to you?"

"No, he is my friend," she answered.

"And a good fellow," said Mr. Gryce, lisping over a maple twig. "Don't you think so?"

"He is good," responded Leam like a dry and lifeless echo.

"An admirable son."


"A devoted friend—a friend to be trusted to the death; a man without his price, incorruptible, with whom a secret, say, would be as safe as if buried in the grave. He would not give it even to the wind, and no reed on his land would whisper 'Midas has ass's ears.'"

"He is good," she repeated with a shiver. Yet the sun was shining and the spring-tide air was sweet and warm.

"And he would make the most faithful and indulgent husband."

There was no answer.

"Do you not agree with me?"

"How should I know?" she answered; and she said no more, though she still shivered.

"Be sure of it—take my word for it," he said again, earnestly.

"It is nothing to me. And I hate your word indulgent!" cried Leam with a flash of her mother's fierceness.

Mr. Gryce, still watching her, smiled softly to himself. His love of knowledge, as he euphemistically termed his curiosity, was roused to the utmost, and he was like a hunter who has struck an obscure trail. He wished to follow this thing to the end, and to know in what relations she and her old friend stood together—if Alick knew what he, Mr. [pg 467] Gryce, knew now, and had offered to marry her notwithstanding; and whether, if he had offered, Leam had refused or accepted. Observation and induction were hurrying him very near the point. Her changing color, her averted eyes, her effort to maintain the pride and coldness which were as a rule maintained without effort, the spasm of terror that had crossed her face when he had spoken of Alick's fidelity, all confirmed him in his belief that he was on the right track, and that the lines in her hand coincided with the facts of her tragic life. Tragic indeed—one of those lives fated from the beginning, doomed to sorrow and to crime like the Orestes, the Oedipus, of old.

But if he was curious, he was compassionate: if he tortured her now, it was that he might care for her hereafter. That hereafter would come—he knew that—and then he would make himself her salvation.

He thought all this as he still watched her, Leam standing there like a creature fascinated, longing to break the spell and escape, and unable.

"Tell me," then said Mr. Gryce in a soft and crooning kind of voice, coming nearer to her, "what do you think of gratitude?"

"Gratitude is good," said Leam slowly, in the manner of one whose answer is a completed thesis.

"But how far?"

"I do not know what you mean," she answered with a weary sigh.

Again he smiled: it was a soft, sleepy, soothing kind of smile, that was almost an opiate.

"You are not good at metaphysics?" he said, coming still nearer and passing his short thick hands over her head carressingly.

"I am not good at anything," she answered dreamily.

"Yes, at many things—to answer me for one—but bad at dialectics."

"I do not understand your hard words," said Leam, her sense of injury at being addressed in an unknown tongue rousing her from the torpor creeping over her.

How much she wished that he would release her! She had no power to leave him of her own free-will. A certain compelling something in Mr. Gryce always forced her to do just as he wished—to answer his questions, stay when he stopped, follow when he beckoned. She resented in feeling, but she obeyed in fact; and he valued her obedience more than he regretted her resentment.

"How far would you go to prove your gratitude?" he continued.

"I do not know," said Leam, the weary sigh repeated.

"Would you marry for gratitude where you did not love?"

"No," she answered in a low voice.

"Would you marry for fear, then, if not for gratitude or love? If you were in the power of a man, would you marry that man to save yourself from all chance of betrayal? I have known women who would. Are you one of them?"

Again he passed his hands over her head and across and down her face. His voice sounded sweet and soft as honey: it was like a cradle-song to a tired child. Leam's eyes drooped heavily. A mist seemed stealing up before her through which everything was transformed—by which the sunshine became as a golden web wherein she was entangled, and the shadows as lines of the net that held her—where the songs of the birds melted into distant harmonies echoing the sleepy sweetness of that soft compelling voice, and where the earth was no longer solid, but a billowy cloud whereon she floated rather than stood. A strange sense of isolation possessed her. It was as if she were alone in the universe, with some all-powerful spirit who was questioning her of the secret things of life, and whose questions she must answer. Mr. Gryce was not the tenant of Lionnet, as the world knew him, but a mild yet awful god, in whose presence she stood revealed, and who was reading her soul, like her past, through and through. She was before him there as a criminal before a judge—discovered, powerless—and all attempt at concealment was at an end.

"Tell me what you know," said the soft and honeyed voice, ever sweeter, [pg 468] ever more soothing, more deadening to her senses.

Leam's whole form drooped, yielded, submitted. In another moment she would have made full confession, when suddenly the harsh cry of a frightened bird near at hand broke up the sleepy harmonies and scattered the compelling charm. Leam started, flung back her head, opened her eyes wide and fixed them full on her inquisitor. Then she stiffened herself as if for a personal resistance, passed her hands over her face as if she were brushing it from cobwebs, and said in a natural voice, offended, haughty, cold, "I did not hear what you said. I was nearly asleep."

"Wake, then," said Mr. Gryce, making a movement as if he too were brushing away cobwebs from her face. After a pause he took both her hands in his. "Child," he said, speaking naturally, without a lisp and with a broader provincial accent than usual—speaking, too, with ill-concealed emotion—"some day you will need a friend. When that day dawns come to me. Promise me this. I know your life and what lies in the past. Do not start—no, nor cover your face, my child. I am safe, and so are you. You must feel this, that I may be of use to you when you want me; for you will want me some day, and I shall be the only one who can save you."

"What do you know?" asked Leam, making one supreme effort over herself and confronting him.

"Everything," said Mr. Gryce solemnly.

"Then I am lost," she answered in a low voice.

"You are saved," he said with tenderness. "Do not be afraid of me: rather thank God that He has given you into my care. You have two friends now instead of one, and the latest the most powerful. Good-bye, my poor misguided and bewildered child. A greater than you or I once said, 'Her sins, which are many, are forgiven her, because she loved much.' Cannot you take that to yourself? If not now, nor yet when remorse is your chief thought, you will later. Till then, trust and hope."

He turned to leave her, tears in his eyes.

"Stay!" cried Leam, but he only shook his head and waved his hand.

"Not now," he said, smiling as he broke through the wood, leaving her with the impression that a chasm had suddenly opened at her feet, into which sooner or later she must fall.

She stood a few moments where the old philosopher and born detective had left her, then went up the path to the hiding-place where she had so often before found the healing to be had from Nature and solitude—to the old dark-spreading yew, which somehow seemed to be more her friend than any human being could be or was—more than even Alick in his devotedness or Mr. Gryce in his protection. And there, sitting on the lowest branch, and sitting so still that the birds came close to her and were not afraid, she dreamed herself back to the desolate days of her innocent youth—those days which were before she had committed a crime or gained friend or lover.

She had been miserable enough then—one alone in the world and one against the world. But how gladly she would have exchanged her present state for the worst of her days then! How she wished that she had died with mamma, or, living, had not taken it as her duty to avenge those wrongs which the saints allowed! Oh, what a tangled dream it all was! she so hideously guilty in fact, and yet that thought of hers, if unreal and insane, that had not been a sin.

But she must wake to the reality of the present, not sit here dreaming over the past and its mystery of loving crime. She must go on as if life were a mere holiday-time of peace with her, where no avenging Furies followed her, lurking in the shadows, no sorrows threatened her, looking out with scared, scarred faces from the distance. She must carry her burden to the end, remembering that it was one of her own making, and for self-respect must be borne with that courage of despair which lets no one see what is suffered. Of what good to dream, to lament? She must live with dignity [pg 469] while she chose to live. When her grief had grown too great for her strength, then she could take counsel with herself whether the fire of life was worth the trouble of keeping alight, or might not rather be put out without more ado.



Leam was not dedicated to peace to-day. As she turned out of the road she came upon the rectory pony-carriage—Adelaide driving Josephine and little Fina—just as it had halted in the highway for Josephine to speak to her brother.

Adelaide was looking very pretty. Her delicate pink cheeks were rather more flushed and her blue eyes darker and fuller of expression than usual. Change of air had done her good, and Edgar's evident admiration was even a better stimulant. She and her mother had ended their absence from North Aston by a visit to the lord lieutenant of the county, and she was not sorry to be able to speak familiarly of certain great personages met there as her co-guests—the prime minister for one and an archbishop for another. And as Edgar was, she knew, influenced by the philosophy of fitness more than most men, she thought the prime minister and the archbishop good cards to play at this moment.

Edgar was listening to her, pleased, smiling, thinking how pretty she looked, and taking her social well-being and roll-call of grand friendships as gems that enriched him too—flowers in his path as well as roses in her hand, and as a sunny sky overarching both alike. She really was a very charming girl—just the wife for an English country gentleman—just the mistress for a place like the Hill, the heart of the man owning the Hill not counting.

But when Leam turned from the wood-path into the road, Edgar felt like a man who has allowed himself to be made enthusiastic over but an inferior bit of art, knowing better. Her beautiful face, with its glorious eyes so full of latent passion, dreaming thought, capacity for sorrow—all that most excites yet most softens the heart of a man; her exquisite figure, so fine in its lines, so graceful yet not weak, so tender yet not sensual; as she stood there in the sunlight the gleam of dusky gold showing on the edges of her dark hair; her very attitude and action as she held a basket full of wild-flowers which with unconscious hypocrisy she had picked to give herself the color of an excuse for her long hiding in the yew tree,—all dwarfed, eclipsed Adelaide into a mere milk-and-roses beauty of a type to be seen by hundreds in a day; while Leam—who was like this peerless Leam? Neither Spain nor England could show such a one as she. Ah, where was the philosophy of fitness now, when this exquisite creation, more splendid than fit, came to the front?

Edgar went forward to meet her, that look of love surprised out of concealment which told so much on his face. Adelaide saw it, and Josephine saw it, and the eyes of the latter grew moist, but the lips of the other only closed more tightly. She accepted the challenge, and she meant to conquer in the fight.

Wearied by her emotions, saddened both by the love that had been confessed and the friendship that had been offered, this meeting with Edgar Harrowby seemed to Leam like home and rest to one very tired and long lost. The bright spring day, which until now had been as gray as winter, suddenly broke upon her with a sense of warmth and beauty, and her sad face reflected in its tender, evanescent smile the delight of which she had become thus suddenly conscious. She laid her hand in his frankly: he had never seen her so frankly glad to meet him; and a look, a gesture, from Leam—grave, proud, reticent Leam—meant as much as cries of joy and caresses from others.

"Good-morning, Miss Dundas: where have you been?" said Edgar, his accent of familiar affection, which meant "Beloved Leam," in nowise overlaid by the formality of the spoken "Miss Dundas."

"Into the wood," said Leam, her hand, as if for proof thereof, stirring the flowers.

"It is a new phase to see you given to [pg 470] rural delights and wild-flowers, Leam," said Adelaide with a little laugh.

"But how pleasant that our dear Leam should have found such a nice amusement!" said Josephine.

"As picking primroses and bluebells, Joseph?" And Adelaide laughed again.

Somehow, her laugh, which was not unmusical, was never pleasant. It did not seem to come from the heart, and was the farthest in the world removed from mirth.

Leam looked at her coldly. "I like flowers," she said, carrying her head high.

"So do I," said Edgar with the intention of taking her part. "What are these things?" holding up a few cuckoo-flowers that were half hidden like delicate shadows among the primroses.

"You certainly show your liking by your knowledge. I thought every schoolboy knew the cuckoo-flower!" cried Adelaide, trying to seem natural and not bitter in her banter, and not succeeding.

"I can learn. Never too late to mend, you know. And Miss Dundas shall teach me," said Edgar.

"I do not know enough: I cannot teach you," Leam answered, taking him literally.

"My dear Leam, how frightfully literal you are!" said Adelaide. "Do you think it looks pretty? Do you really believe that Major Harrowby was in earnest about your giving him botanical lessons?"

"I believe people I respect," returned Leam gravely.

"Thanks," said Edgar warmly, his face flushing.

Adelaide's face flushed too. "Are you going through life taking as gospel all the unmeaning badinage which gentlemen permit themselves to talk to ladies?" she asked from the heights of her superior wisdom. "Remember, Leam, at your age girls cannot be too discreet."

"I do not understand you," said Leam, fixing her eyes on the fair face that strove so hard to conceal the self within from the world without, and to make impersonal and aphoristic what was in reality passionate disturbance.

"A girl who has been four years at a London boarding-school not to understand such a self-evident little speech as that!" cried Adelaide, with well-acted surprise. "How can you be insincere? I must say I have no faith, myself, in Bayswater ingénues: have you, Edgar?" with the most graceful little movement of her head, her favorite action, and one that generally made its mark.

"I do not understand you," said Leam again. "I only know that you are rude: you always are."

She spoke in her most imperturbable manner and with her quietest face. Nothing roused in her so much the old Leam of pride and disdain as these encounters with Adelaide Birkett. The two were like the hereditary foes of old-time romance, consecrated to hate from their birth upward.

"Come, come, fair lady, you are rather hard on our young friend," said Edgar with a strange expression in his eyes—angry, intense, and yet uncertain. He wanted to protect Leam, yet he did not want to offend Adelaide; and though he was angry with this last, he did not wish her to see that he was.

"Dear Leam! I am sure she is very sweet and nice," breathed Josephine; but little Fina, playing with Josephine's chatelaine, said in her childish treble, "No, no, she is not nice: she is cross, and never laughs, and she has big eyes. They frighten me at night, and then I scream. Your are far nicer, Missy Joseph."

Adelaide laughed outright; Josephine was embarrassed between the weak good-nature that could not resist even a child's caressing words and her constitutional pain at giving pain; Edgar tried to smile at the little one's pertness as a thing below the value of serious notice, while feeling all that a man does feel when the woman whom he loves is in trouble and he cannot defend her; but Leam herself said to the child, gravely and without bitterness, "I am not cross, Fina, and laughing is not everything."

"Right, Miss Dundas!" said Edgar warmly. "If the little puss were older she would understand you better. You [pg 471] unconscionable little sinner! what do you mean? hey?" good-humoredly taking Fina by the shoulders.

"Oh, pray don't try and make the child a hypocrite," said Adelaide. "You, of all people in the world, Edgar, objecting to her naïve truth!—you, who so hate and despise deception!"

While she had spoken Fina had crawled over Josephine's lap to the side where Edgar was standing. She put up her fresh little face to be kissed. "I don't like Learn, and I do like you," she said, stroking his beard.

And Edgar, being a man, was therefore open to female flattery, whether it was the frank flattery of an infant Venus hugging a waxen Cupid or the more subtle overtures of a withered Ninon taking God for her latest lover—with interludes.

"But you should like Leam too," he said, fondling her, "I want you to love me, but you should love her as well."

"Oh, any one can get the love of children who is kind to them," said Adelaide. "You know you are a very kind man, Edgar," in a quiet, matter-of-fact way. "All animals and children love you. It is a gift you have, but it is only because you are kind."

The context stood without any need of an interpreter to make it evident.

"But I am sure that Leam is kind to Fina," blundered Josephine.

"And the child dislikes her so much?" was Adelaide's reply, made in the form of an interrogation and with arched eyebrows.

"Fina is like the discontented little squirrel who was never happy," said Josephine, patting the plump little hand that still meandered through the depths of Edgar's beard.

"I am happy with you, Missy Joseph," pouted Fina; "and you," to Edgar, whom she again lifted up her face to kiss, kisses and sweeties being her twin circumstances of Paradise.

"And with sister Leam: say 'With Leam,' else I will not kiss you," said Edgar, holding her off.

She struggled, half laughing, half minded to cry. "I want to kiss you," she cried.

"Say 'With Leam,' and then I will," said Edgar.

The child's face flushed a deeper crimson, her struggles became more earnest, more vicious, and her laugh lost itself in the puckered preface of tears.

"Don't make her cry because she will not tell a falsehood," remonstrated Adelaide quietly.

"She does not like me. Saying that she does would not be true, and would not make her," added Leam just as quietly and with a kind of hopeless acceptance of undeserved obloquy.

On which Edgar, not wishing to prolong a scene that began to be undignified, released the child, who scrambled back to Josephine's lap and hid her flushed and disordered little face on the comfortable bosom made by Nature for the special service of discomposed childhood.

"She is right to like you best," said Leam, associating Edgar as the brother with Josephine's generous substitution of maternity.

"I don't think so. You are the one she should love—who deserves her love," he answered emphatically.

"Come, Joseph," cried Adelaide. "If these two are going to bandy compliments, you and I are not wanted."

"Don't go, Adelaide: I have worlds yet to say to you," said Edgar.

"Thanks! another time. I do not like to see things of which I disapprove," was her answer, touching her ponies gently and moving away slowly.

When she had drawn off out of earshot she beckoned Edgar with her whip. It was impolitic, but she was too deeply moved to make accurate calculations. "Dear Edgar, do not be offended with me," she said in her noblest, most sisterly manner. "Of course I do not wish to interfere, and it is no business of mine, but is it right to fool that unhappy girl as you are doing? I put it to you, as one woman anxious for the happiness and reputation of another—as an old friend who values you too much to see you make the mistake you are making now without a word of warning. It can be no business of mine, outside the purest regard and [pg 472] consideration for you as well as for her. I do not like her, but I do not want to see her in a false position and with a damaged character through you."

Had they been alone, Edgar would probably have accepted this remonstrance amicably enough. He might even have gone a long way in proving it needless. But in the presence of Josephine his pride took the alarm, and the weapon intended for Leam cut Adelaide's fingers instead.

He listened patiently till she ended, then he drew himself up. "Thanks!" he drawled affectedly. "You are very kind both to Miss Dundas and myself. All the world knows that the most vigilant overseer a pretty girl can have is a pretty woman. When the reputation of Miss Dundas is endangered by me, it will then be time for her father to interfere. Meanwhile, thanks! I like her quite well enough to take care of her."

"Now, Adelaide, you have vexed him," said Josephine in dismay as Edgar strode back to where Leam remained waiting for him.

"I have done my duty," said Adelaide, drawing her lips into a thin line and lowering her eyebrows; and her friend knew her moods and respected them.

On this point of warning Edgar against an entanglement with Leam she did really think that she had done her duty. She knew that she wished to marry him herself—in fact, meant to marry him—and that she would probably have been his wife before now had it not been for this girl and her untimely witcheries; but though, naturally enough, she was not disposed to love Leam any the more because she had come between her and her intended husband, she thought that she would have borne the disappointment with becoming magnanimity if she had been of the right kind for Edgar's wife. With Adelaide, as with so many among us, conventional harmony was a religion in itself, and he who despised its ritual was a blasphemer. And surely that harmony was not be found in the marriage of an English gentleman of good degree with the daughter of a dreadful low-class Spanish woman—a girl who at fifteen years of age had prayed to the saints, used her knife as a whanger, and maintained that the sun went round the earth because mamma said so, and mamma knew! No, if Edgar married any one but herself, let him at least marry some one as well fitted for him as herself, not one like Leam Dundas.

For the sake of the neighborhood at large the mistress of the Hill ought to be a certain kind of person—they all knew of what kind—and a queer, unconformable creature like Leam set up there as the Mrs. Harrowby of the period would throw all things into confusion. Whatever happened, that must be prevented if possible, for Edgar's own sake and for the sake of the society of the place.

All of which thoughts strengthened Adelaide in her conviction that she had done what she ought to have done in warning Edgar against Leam, and that she was bound to be faithful in her course so long as he was persistent in his.

Meanwhile, Edgar returned to Leam, who had remained standing in the middle of the road waiting for him. Nothing belonged less to Leam than forwardness or flattery to men; and it was just one of those odd coincidences which sometimes happen that as Edgar had not wished her good-bye, she felt herself bound to wait his return. But it had the look of either a nearer intimacy than existed between them, or of Leam's laying herself out to win the master of the Hill as she would not have laid herself out to win the king of Spain. In either case it added fuel to the fire, and confirmed Adelaide more and more in the course she had taken. "Look there!" she said to Josephine, pointing with her whip across the field, the winding way having brought them in a straight line with the pair left on the road.

"Very bold, I must say," said Josephine; "but Leam is such a child!—she does not understand things as we do," she added by way of apology and defence.

"Think not?" was Adelaide's reply; and then she whipped her ponies and said no more.

[pg 473]

"Why does Miss Birkett hate me?" asked Leam when Edgar came back.

"Because—Shall I tell you?" he answered with a look which she could not read.

"Yes, tell me."

"Because you are more beautiful than she is, and she is jealous of you. She is very good in her own way, but she does not like rivals near her throne; and you are her rival without knowing it."

Leam had looked straight at Edgar when he began to speak, but now she dropped her eyes. For the first time in her life she did not disclaim his praise, nor feel it a thing that she ought to resent. On the contrary, it made her heart beat with a sudden throb that almost frightened her with its violence, and that seemed to break down her old self in its proud reticence and cold control, leaving her soft, subdued, timid, humble—childlike, and yet not a child. Her face was pale; her eyelids seemed weighted over her eyes, so that she could not raise them; her breath came with so much difficulty that she was forced to unclose her lips for air; she trembled as if with a sudden chill, and yet her veins seemed running with fire; and she felt as if the earth moved under her feet. What malady was this that had overtaken her so suddenly? What did it all mean? It was something like that strange sensation which she had had a few hours back in the wood, when Mr. Gryce had seemed to her like some compelling spirit questioning her of her life, while she was his victim, forced to reveal all. And yet it was the same, with a difference. That had been torture covered down by an anodyne: this was in its essence ecstasy, if on the outside pain.

"Look at me, Leam," half whispered Edgar, bending over her.

She raised her eyes with shame and difficulty—very slowly, for their lids were so strangely heavy; very shyly, for there was something in them, she herself did not know what, which she did not wish him to see. Nevertheless, she raised them because he bade her. How sweet and strange it was to obey him against her own desire! Did he know that she looked at him because he told her to do so? and that she would have rather kept her eyes to the ground? Yes, she raised them and met his.

Veiled, humid, yearning, those eyes of hers told all—all that she herself did not know, all that Edgar had now hoped, now feared, as passion or prudence had swayed him, as love or fitness had seemed the best circumstance of life.

"Leam!" he said in an altered voice: she scarcely recognized it as his. He took her hand in his, when suddenly there came two voices on the air, and Mr. Gryce and Sebastian Dundas, disputing hotly on the limits of the Unknowable, turned the corner and came upon them.

Then the moment and its meaning passed, the enchanted vision faded, and all that remained of that brief foretaste of Paradise before the serpent had entered or the forbidden fruit been tasted was the bald, prosaic fact of Major Harrowby bidding Miss Dundas good-day, too much pressed for time to stop and talk on the Unknowable.

"Disappointed, baulked, ill-used!" were Edgar's first angry thoughts as he strode along the road: his second, those that were deepest and truest to his real self, came with a heavy sigh. "Saved just in time from making a fool of myself," he said below his breath, his eyes turned in the direction of the Hill. "It must be a warning for the future. I must be more on my guard, unless indeed I make up my mind to tempt fortune and take the plunge—for happiness such as few men have, or for the ruin of everything."

Meanwhile, pending this determination, Edgar kept himself out of Leam's way, and days passed before they met again. And when they did next meet it was in the churchyard, in the presence of the assembled congregation, with Alick Corfield as the centre of congratulation on his first resumption of duty, and Leam and Edgar separated by the crowd and stiffened by conventionality into coldness.

Maya—delusion! That strange trouble, sweet and thrilling, which disturbed [pg 474] Leam's whole being; Edgar's unfathomable eyes, which seemed almost to burn as she looked at them; his altered voice, scarcely recognizable it was so changed—all a mere phantasy born of a dream—all, what is so much in this life of ours, a mockery, a mistake, a vague hope without roots, a shadowy heaven that had no place in fact, the cold residuum of enthralling and bewitching myths—all Maya, delusion!



After that scene in the pony-carriage Leam began to take it to heart that little Fina did not love her. Hitherto, solicitous only to do her duty unrelated to sentiment, she had not cared to win the child's rootless and unmeaning affection: now she longed to hear her say to Major Harrowby, "I love Leam." She did not care about her saying it to any one else, but she thought it would be pleasant to see Edgar smile on her as he had smiled at Josephine when Fina had crawled on to her lap that day of Maya, and said, "You are far nicer, Missy Joseph."

She would like to have Edgar's good opinion. Indeed, that was only proper gratitude to a friend, not unwomanly submission to the great young man of the place. He was invariably kind to her, and he had done much to make her cheerless life less dreary. He had lent her books to read, and had shown her pretty places in the district which she would never have seen but for him: he talked to her as if he liked talking to her, and he had defended her when Adelaide was rude. It was right, then, that she should wish to please him and show him that she deserved his respect.

Hence she put out her strength to win Fina's love that she might hear her say, when next Major Harrowby asked her, "Yes, I love Leam."

But who ever gained by conscious endeavor the love that was not given by the free sympathies of Nature? Hearts have been broken and lives ruined before now for the want of a spell strong enough to turn the natural course of feeling; and Leam's success with Fina was no exception to the common experience. The more she sought to please her the less she succeeded; and, save that the child grew disobedient in proportion to the new indulgences granted, no change was effected.

How should there be a change? Leam could not romp, was not fond of kissing, knew no childish games, could not enter into childish nonsense, was entirely incapable of making believe, never seemed to be thinking of what she was about, and had big serious eyes that oppressed the little one with a sense of awe not conducive to love, and of which she dreamed with terrifying adjuncts when she had had too much cake too late at night. What there was of sterling in Leam had no charm for, because no point of contact with, Fina. Thus, all her efforts went astray, and the child loved her no better for being coaxed by methods that did not amuse her. At the end of all she still said with her pretty pout that Leam was cross—she would not talk to her about mamma.

One day Learn took Fina for a walk to the Broad. It was the most unselfish thing she could do, for her solitary rambles, her unaccompanied rides, were her greatest pleasures; save, indeed, when the solitude of these last was interrupted by Major Harrowby. This, however, had not been nearly so often since the return of the families as before; for Adelaide's pony-carriage was wellnigh ubiquitous, and Edgar did not care that the rector's sarcastic daughter should see him escorting Leam in lonely places three or four times a week. Thus, the girl had fallen back into her old habits of solitude, and to take the child with her was a sacrifice of which she herself only knew the extent.

But, if blindly and with uncertain feet, stumbling often and straying wide, Leam did desire to find the narrow way and walk in it—to know the better thing and do it. At the present moment she knew nothing better than to give nurse a holiday and burden herself with an uncongenial [pg 475] little girl as her charge and companion when she would rather have been alone. So this was how it came about that on this special day the two set out for the Broad, where Fina had a fancy to go.

The walk was pleasant enough, Leam was not called on to rack her brains—those non-inventive brains of hers, which could not imagine things that never happened—for stories wherewith to while away the time, as Fina ran alone, happy in picking the spring flowers growing thick on the banks and hedgerows. Thus the one was amused and the other was left to herself undisturbed; which was an arrangement that kept Leam's good intentions intact, but prevented the penance which they included from becoming too burdensome. Indeed, her penance was so light that she thought it not so great a hardship, after all, to make little Fina her companion in her rambles if she would but run on alone and content herself with picking flowers that neither scratched nor stung, and where therefore neither the surgery of needles nor the dressing of dock-leaves was required, nor yet the supplementary soothing of kisses and caresses for her tearful, sobbing, angry pain.

The Broad, always one of the prettiest points in the landscape, was to-day in one of its most interesting phases. The sloping banks were golden with globe-flowers and marsh "mary-buds," and round the margin, was a broad belt of silver where the starry white ranunculus grew. All sorts of the beautiful aquatic plants of spring were flowering—some near the edges, apparently just within reach, tempting and perilous, and some farther off and manifestly hopeless: the leaves of the water-lilies, which later would be set like bosses of silver and gold on the shimmering blue, had risen to the surface in broad, green, shining platters, and the low-lying branches of the trees at the edge dipped in the water and swayed with the running stream.

It was the loveliest bit of death and danger to be found for miles round—so lovely that it might well have tempted the sorrowful to take their rest for ever in a grave so sweet, so eloquent of eternal peace. Even Leam, with all the unspoken yearnings, the formless hopes, of youth stirring in her heart, thought how pleasant it would be to go to sleep among the flowers and wake up only when she had found mamma in heaven; while Fina, dazzled by the rank luxuriance before her, ran forward to the water's edge with a shrill cry of delight.

Leam called to her to stand back, to come away from the water and the bank, which, shelving abruptly, was a dangerous place for a child. The footing was insecure and the soil treacherous—by no means a proper playground for the rash, uncertain feet of six. Twice or thrice Leam called, but Fina would not hear, and began gathering the flowers with the bold haste of a child disobeying orders and resolved to make the most of her opportunity before the time came of her inevitable capture.

Thus Leam, walking fast, came up to her and took her by the arm in high displeasure. "Fina, did you not hear me? You must not stand here," she said,

"Don't, Leam, you hurt me—you are cross: leave me alone," screamed Fina, twisting her little body to free herself from her step-sister's hand.

"Be quiet. You will fall into the river and be drowned if you go on like this," said Leam, tightening her hold; and those small nervous hands of hers had an iron grasp when she chose to put out her strength.

"Leave me alone. You hurt me—oh, you hurt me so much!" screamed Fina, still struggling.

"Come with me, then. Do as you are bid and come away," returned Leam, slightly relaxing her grasp. Though she was angry with the child, she did not want to hurt her.

"I shan't. Leave me alone. You are a cross, ugly thing, and I hate you," was Fina's sobbing reply.

With a sudden wrench she tore herself from the girl's hands, slipped, staggered, shrieked, and the next moment was in the water, floating downward with the current and struggling vainly to get [pg 476] out; while Leam, scarcely understanding what she saw, stood paralyzed and motionless on the bank.

Fortunately, at this instant Josephine drove up. She was alone, driving her gray ponies in the basket phaeton, and saw the child struggling in the stream, with Learn standing silent, helpless, struck to stone as it seemed, watching her without making an effort to save her. "Leam! Fina! save her! save her!" cried Josephine, who herself had enough to do to hold her ponies, in their turn startled by her own sudden cries. "Leam, save her!" she repeated; and then breaking down into helpless dismay she began to sob and scream with short, sharp hysterical shrieks as her contribution to the misery of the moment. Poor Josephine! it was all that she could do, frightened as she was at her own prancing ponies, distracted at the sight of Fina's danger, horrified at Leam's apparent apathy.

As things turned out, it was the best that she could have done, for her voice roused Leam's faculties into active life again, and broke the spell of torpor into which horror had thrown them. "Holy St. Jago, help me!" she said, instinctively turning back to first traditions and making the sign of the cross, which she did not often make now, and only when surprised out of conscious into automatic action.

Running down and along the bank, with one hand she seized the branch of an oak that swept into the water, then plunged in up to her shoulders to catch the child drifting down among the white ranunculus. Fortunately, Fina was still near enough to the shore to be caught as she drifted by without absolute danger of drowning to Leam, who waded back to land, drawing the child with her, not much the worse for her dangerous moment save for the fright which she had suffered and the cold of her dripping clothes; in both of which conditions Leam was her companion.

So soon as she was safe on shore the child began to scream and cry piteously, as was perhaps but natural, and when she saw Josephine she tore herself away from Leam and ran up to her as if for protection. "Take me home to nurse," she sobbed, climbing into the little low phaeton and clinging to Josephine, who was also weeping and trembling hysterically. "Leam pushed me in: take me away from her."

"You say what is not true, Fina," said Leam gravely, trembling as much as Josephine, though her eyes were dry and she did not sob. "You fell in because you would not let me hold you."

"You pushed me in, and I hate you," reiterated Fina, cowering close to the bosom of her warm, soft friend.

"Do you believe this?" asked Leam, turning to Josephine and speaking with all her old pride of voice and bearing. Nevertheless, she was as white as those flowers on the water. It was madame's child who accused her of attempting to kill her, and it was the child whom she had so earnestly desired to win who now said, "I hate her," to the sister of the man to whom she longed to hear her say, "I love Leam."

"Believe that you pushed her in—that you wanted to drown dear little Fina? No!" cried Josephine in broken sentences through her tears. "She mistakes.—You must not say such dreadful things, my darling," to Fina. "Dear sister Leam would not hurt a hair of your head, I am sure."

"She did: she pushed me in on purpose," persisted the shivering child, beginning to cry afresh.

On which, a little common sense dawning on Josephine's distracted mind, she did her best to stop her own hysterical sympathy, remembering that to go home, change their wet clothes, have something warm to drink and be put to bed would be more to the purpose for both at this moment than to stand there crying, shivering and recriminating, with herself as the weak and loving judge, inclining to both equally, to settle the vexed question of accident or malice.

"Good gracious! why are we waiting here?" she cried, drying her eyes quickly and ceasing to sob. "You will both get your deaths from cold if you stand here in your wet clothes.—Come in, dear Leam, and I will drive you home at once.—Fina, [pg 477] my darling, leave off crying, that's my little angel. I will take you to papa, and you will be all right directly. I cannot bear to see you cry so much, dear Fina: don't, my pet."

Which only made the little one weep I and sob the more, children, like women, liking nothing better than to be commiserated because of distress which they could; control without difficulty if they would.

Seating the child at the bottom of the carriage and covering her with the rug, Josephine flicked her ponies, which were glad enough to be off and doing something to which they were accustomed, and soon brought her dripping charge to Ford House, where they found Mr. Dundas in the porch drawing on his gloves, his horse standing at the door.

"Good heavens! what is all this about?" he cried, rushing forward to receive the disconsolate cargo, unloading one by one the whole group dank and dismal—Josephine's scared face swollen with tears, white and red in the wrong places; Leam's set like a mask, blanched, rigid, tragic; Fina's now flushed and angry, now pale and frightened, with a child's swift-varying emotions; and the garments of the last two clinging like cerements and dripping small pools on the gravel.

"Learn pushed me into the river," said Fina, beginning to cry afresh, and holding on by Josephine, who now kissed and coaxed her, and said, "Fina, my darling, don't say such a wicked thing of poor Leam: it is so naughty, so very naughty," and then took to hugging her again, as the mood of the instant swayed her toward the child or the girl, but always full of womanly weakness and kindness to each, and only troubled that she had to make distinctions, as it were, between them.

"What is it you say, Fina?" asked Mr. Dundas slowly—"Leam pushed you into the river?"

"Yes," sobbed Fina.

"I did not, papa. And I went in myself to save her," said Leam, holding her head very straight and high.

Mr. Dundas looked at her keenly, sternly. "Well, no, Leam," he answered, with, as it seemed to her, marked coldness and in a strange voice: "with all your unpleasant temper I do not like to suppose you could be guilty of the crime of murder."

The girl shuddered visibly. Her proud little head drooped, her fixed and fearless eyes sank shamed to the ground. "I have always taken care of Fina," she said in a humbled voice, as if it was a plea for pardon that she was putting forward.

"You pushed me in, and you did it on purpose," repeated Fina; and Mr. Dundas was shocked at himself to find that he speculated for a moment on the amount of truth there might be in the child's statement.

Cold, trembling, distressed, Leam turned away. Would that sin of hers always thus meet her face to face? Should she never be free from its shadow? Go where she would, it followed her, ineffaceable, irreparable—the shame of it never suffered to die out, its remorse never quenched, the sword always above her head, to fall she knew not when, but to fall some day: yes, that she did know.

"But you must go up stairs now," said Josephine with a creditable effort after practicality: "we shall have you both seriously ill unless you get your clothes changed at once."

Mr. Dundas looked at her kindly. "How wise and good you are!" he said with almost enthusiasm; and Josephine, her eyes humid with glad tears, her cheeks flushed with palpitating joy, sank in soul to him again, as so often before, and offered the petition of her humble love, which wanted only his royal signature to make an eternal bond.

"I love little Fina," she said tremulously. It was as if she had said, "I love you."

Then she turned into the house and indulged her maternal instinct by watching nurse as she undressed the child, put her in a warm bath, gave her some hot elderberry wine and water, laid her in her little bed, and with many kisses bade her go to sleep and forget all about everything till tea-time. And the keen relish with which she followed all these nursery details marked her fitness for [pg 478] the post of pro-mother so distinctly that it made nurse look at her more than once, and think—also made her say, as a feeler—"Law, miss! what a pity you've not had one of your own!"

Her tenderness of voice and action with the child when soothing her at the door had also made Sebastian think, and the child's fondness for this soft-faced, weak and kindly woman was setting a mark on the man's mind, well into middle age as she was. He began to ask himself whether the blighted tree could ever put forth leaves again? whether there was balm in Gilead yet for him, and nepenthe for the past in the happiness of the future. He thought there might be, and that he had sat long enough now by the open grave of his dead love. It was time to close it, and leave what it held to the keeping of a dormant memory only—a memory that would never die, but that was serene, passive and at rest.

So he pondered as he rode, and told Josephine's virtues as golden beads between his fingers, to which his acceptance would give their due value, wanting until now—their due value, merited if not won. And for himself, would she make him happy? On the whole he thought that she would. She worshiped him, perhaps, as he had worshiped that other, and it was pleasant to Sebastian Dundas to be worshiped. He might do worse, if also he might do better; but at least in taking Josephine he knew what he was about, and Fina would not be made unhappy. He forgot Leam. Yes, he would take Josephine for his wife by and by, when the fitting moment came, and in doing so he would begin life anew and be once more made free of joy.

He was one of those men resilient if shallow, and resilient perhaps because shallow, who, persecuted by an evil fortune, are practically unconquerable—men who, after they have been prostrated by a blow severe enough to shatter the strongest heart, come back to their old mental place after a time smiling, in nowise crushed or mutilated, and as ready to hope and love and believe and plan as before—men who are never ennobled by sorrow, never made more serious in their thoughts, more earnest in their aims, though, as Sebastian had been, they may be fretful enough while the sore is open—men who seem to be the unresisting sport of the unseen powers, buffeted, tortured as we see helpless things on earth—dogs beaten and horses lashed—for the mere pleasure of the stronger in inflicting pain, and for no ultimate good to be attained by the chastening. The souls of such men are like those weighted tumblers of pith: knocked down twenty times, on the twenty-first they stand upright, and nothing short of absolute destruction robs them of their elasticity. As now when Sebastian planned the base-lines of his new home with Josephine, and built thereon a pretty little temple of friendship armed like love.

His heart was broken, he said to himself, but Josephine held the fragments, and he would make himself tolerably content with the rivet. Still, it was broken all the same; which simply meant that of the two he loved madame the better, and would have chosen her before the other could she have come back; but that failing, this other would do, even Josephine's love being better than no love at all. Besides, she had her own charms, if of a sober kind. She was a sweet-tempered, soft-hearted creature, with the aroma of remembrance round her when she was young and pretty and unattainable: consequently, being unattainable, held as the moral pot of gold under the rainbow, which, could it have been caught, would have made all life glad. The sentimental rest which she and her people had afforded during the turbulent times of that volcanic Pepita had also its sweet savor of association that did not make her less delightful in the present; and when he looked at her now, faded as she was, he used to try and conjure back her image, such as it had been when she was a pretty, blushing, affectionate young girl, who loved him as flowers love the sun, innocently, unconsciously, and without the power of repulsion.

Also, she had the aroma of remembrance about her from another side—remembrance when she had been [pg 479] madame's chosen friend and favorite, and the unconscious chaperon, poor dear! who had made his daily visits to Lionnet possible and respectable. He pitied her a little now when he thought of how he had used her as Virginie's hood and his own mask then; and he pitied her so much that he took it on his conscience, as a duty which he owed her and the right, to make her happy at last. Yes, it was manifestly his duty—unquestionably the right thing to do. The petition must be signed, the suppliant raised; Ahasuerus must exalt his Esther, his loving, faithful, humble Esther; and when inclination models itself as duty the decision is not far off.



All North Aston rang with the story of little Fina's peril, Josephine's admirable devotion and Leam's shameful neglect—so shameful as to be almost criminal. It was the apportionment of judgment usual with the world. The one who had incurred no kind of risk, and had done only what was pleasant to her, received unbounded praise, while the one who was of practical use got for her personal peril and discomfort universal blame. They said she had allowed the child to run into danger by her own carelessness, and then had done nothing to save her: and they wondered beneath their breath if she had really wished the little one to be drowned. She was an odd girl, you know, they whispered from each to each—moody, uncomfortable, and unlike any one else; and though she had certainly behaved admirably to little Fina, so far as they could see, yet it was not quite out of the nature of things that she should wish to get rid of the child, who, after all, was the child of no one knows whom, and very likely spoilt and tiresome enough.

But no one said this aloud. They only whispered it to each other, their comments making no more noise than the gliding of snakes through the evening grass.

As for Fina, she suffered mainly from a fit of indigestion consequent on the shower of sweetmeats which fell on her from all hands as the best consolation for her willful little ducking known to sane men and women presumably acquainted with the elements of physiology. She was made restless, too, from excitement by reason of the multiplicity of toys which every one thought it incumbent on him and her to bestow; for it was quite a matter for public rejoicing that she had not been drowned, and Josephine, as her reputed savior, leapt at a bound to the highest pinnacle of popular favor.

It made not the slightest difference in the estimation of these clumsy thinkers that the thing for which Josephine was praised was a pure fiction, just as the thing for which Leam was condemned was a pure fiction. Society at North Aston had the need of hero-worship on it at this moment, and a mythic heroine did quite as well for the occasion as a real one.

No one was so lavish of her praise as Adelaide. It was really delightful to note the generosity with which she eulogized her friend Joseph, and the pleasure that she had in dwelling on her heroism; Josephine deprecating her praises in that weak, conscious, and blushing way which seems to accept while disclaiming.

She invariably said, "No, Adelaide, I do not deserve the credit of it: it was Leam who saved the child;" but she said it in that voice and manner which every one takes to mean more modesty than truth, and which therefore no one believes as it is given; the upshot being that it simply brings additional grist to the mill whence popularity is ground out.

Her disclaimers were put down to her good-natured desire to screen Leam: she had always been good to that extraordinary young person, they said. But then Josephine Harrowby was good to every one, and if she had a fault it was the generalized character of her benevolence, which made her praise of no value, you see, because she praised every one alike, and took all that glittered for gold. Hence, her assurances that Leam had really and truly put herself into (the [pg 480] appearance of) actual danger to save Fina from drowning, while she herself had done nothing more heroic than take the dripping pair of them home when all was over—she forgot to add, sit in the carriage and scream—went for nothing, and the popular delusion for all. She was still the heroine of the day, and >palmam qui non meruit the motto which the unconscious satirists bestowed on her.

She did not mean it to be so—quite the contrary—but wrong comes about from good intentions to the full as often as from evil ones. Her design was simply to be truthful, as so much conscientious self-respect, in the first instance, and to do justice to Leam in the second; but between her good-natured advocacy and Adelaide's undisguised hostility maybe the former did Leam the most harm.

The child's past danger was quite sufficient reason why Josephine should come more frequently than usual to Ford House. It was only natural that she should wish to know how the little one went on. The cold, sore throat, rheumatic fever, measles that never came, might yet be always on the way, and the woman's fond fears were only to be quieted by the comforting assurance of her daily observation. Leam did get a cold, and a severe one, but then Leam was grown up and could take care of herself. Fina was the natural charge of universal womanhood, and no one who was a woman at all could fail to be interested in such a pretty, caressing little creature. And then Sebastian Dundas loved best the child which was not his own; and that, too, had its weight with Josephine, who somehow seemed to have forgotten by now that little Fina was madame's child—false and faithless madame—and was not part and parcel of the man she loved, as also in some strange sense her own. Madame's initial dedication had touched her deeply both at the time and ever after; the likeness of name was again another tie; and that subtle resemblance to herself which every one saw and spoke of seemed to round off all into an harmonious whole, and give her a right which even Mrs. Birkett did not possess.

It was about a week after the accident when Josephine went one morning, as usual, to ask after Fina, and be convinced by personal inspection that the pretty little featherhead, the child of many loves, was well. She was met in the drawing-room by Mr. Dundas, who when he greeted her took both her hands in his in a more effusive manner than he had ever permitted himself to show since Pepita's death, save once before he had decided on madame and when Josephine had one day touched an old chord tenderly.

Holding her thus, he led her to the sofa with a certain look of purpose in his face, of loving proprietorship in his bearing, that made poor fond Josephine's foolish heart knock loudly against her ribs.

Was it then coming at last, that reward of constancy for which she had borne so much suspense, so many delays, such long dull days and tearful nights? Was the rickety idol of her whole life's worship really about to bless her with his smiles?

She cast down her eyes, trembling, blushing. She was thirty-five years of age, but she was only a great girl still, and her love had the freshness which belongs to the cherished sentiment of girlhood ripened into the confessed, patient, unchanging love of maturity.

"You have been always good to me, Josephine," began Mr. Dundas, still holding her hand.

Josephine did not answer, save through the crimson of her telltale cheeks and the smile akin to tears about her quivering mouth.

"I think you have always liked me," he went on to say, looking down into her face.

Josephine closed her hand over his more warmly and glanced up swiftly, bashfully. Was there much doubt of it? had there ever been any doubt of it?

"And I have always liked you," he added; and then he paused.

She looked up again, this time a certain tender reproach and surprise lying behind her evident delight and love.

"Had not my darling Virginie come [pg 481] between us you would have been my wife long ago," said Mr. Dundas, the certainty of her acceptance at any time of their acquaintance as positive to him as that the famished hound would accept food, the closed pimpernel expand in the sunlight. "I was always fond of you, even in poor Pepita's time, though of course, as a man of honor, I could neither encourage nor show my affection. But Virginie—she took me away from the whole world, and I lost you, as well as herself, for that one brief month of happiness."

His eyes filled up with tears. Though he was wooing his third bride, he did not conceal his regret for his second.

By an effort of maidenly reserve over feminine sympathy Josephine refrained from throwing her arms round his neck and weeping on his shoulder for pity at his past sorrow. She had none of the vice of jealousy, and she could honestly and tenderly pity the man whom she loved for his grief at the loss of the woman whom he had preferred to herself. She did, however, refrain, and Sebastian could only guess at her impulse. But he made a tolerably accurate guess, though he seemed to see nothing. He knew that his way was smooth before him, and that he need not give himself a moment's trouble about the ending. And though, as a rule, a man likes the excitement of doubt and the sentiment of difficulties to be overcome, still there are times when, if he is either very weary or too self-complacent to care to strive, he is glad to be assured that he has won before he has wooed, and has only to claim the love that is waiting for him. Which was what Mr. Dundas felt now when he noted the simplicity with which Josephine showed her heart while believing she was hiding it so absolutely, and knew that he had only to speak to have the whole thing concluded.

"And now I have only half a heart to offer you," he said plaintively: "the other half is in the grave with my beloved. But if you care to ally yourself to one who has been the sport of sorrow as I have, if you care to make the last years of my life happy, and will be content with the ashes rather than the fires, I will do my best to make you feel that you have not sacrificed yourself in vain. Will it be a sacrifice, Josephine?" he asked in a lower tone, and with the exquisite sweetness which love and pleading give to even a commonplace voice.

"I have loved you all my life," said Josephine simply; and then dissolving into happy tears she hid her face in his breast and felt that heaven was sometimes very near to earth.

Sebastian passed his arms round her ample comely form and pressed her to his heart, tenderly and without affectation. It was pleasant to him to see her devotion, to feel her love; and though he disliked tears, as a man should, still tears of joy were a tribute which he did not despise in essence if the method might have been more congenial.

"Dear Josephine!" he said. "I always knew what a good soul you were."

This was the way in which Sebastian Dundas wooed and won an honest-hearted English lady who loved him, and who, virtue for virtue, was infinitely his superior—a wooing in striking contrast with the methods which he had employed to gain the person of a low-class, half-savage Spanish girl, whom he had loved for her beauty and who took him for her pleasure; also in striking contrast with those he employed to gain Madame de Montfort, a clever adventuress, who balanced him, in hand, against her bird in the bush, and decided that to make sure of the less was better than to wait for the chance of the greater. But Josephine felt nothing humiliating in his lordliness. She loved him, she was a woman devoid of self-esteem; hence humiliation from his hand was impossible.

Just then pretty little Fina came running to the window from the garden, where she was playing.

"Come here, poppet," said Mr. Dundas, holding out his left hand, his right round comely Josephine.

She came through the open window and ran up to him. "Nice papa!" she lisped, stroking his hand.

He took her on his knee, "I have I given you a new mamma, Fina," he said, [pg 482] kissing her; and then he kissed Josephine for emphasis. "Will you be good to her and love her very much? This is your mamma.".

"Will you love me, little Fina?" asked Josephine in a voice full of emotion, taking the child's fair head between her hands. "Will you like me to be your mamma?"

"Yes," cried Fina, clapping her hands. "I shall like a nice new mamma instead of Learn. I hate Leam: she is cross and has big eyes."

"Oh, we must not hate poor Leam," remonstrated Josephine tenderly.

"I cannot understand the child's aversion," said Mr. Dundas in a half-musing, half-suspicious way. "Leam seems to be all that is good and kind to her, but nothing that she does can soften the little creature's dislike. It must be natural instinct," he added in a lower voice.

"Yes, perhaps it is," assented Josephine, who would have answered, "Yes, perhaps it is," to anything else that her lover might have said.

"Where is Leam, my little Fina? Do you know?" asked Sebastian of the child.

"In the garden. She is coming in," answered Fina; and at the word Leam passed before the window as Fina had done.

"Leam, my child, come in: I want to speak to you," said her father, with unwonted kindness; and Leam, too, as Fina had done before her, passed through the open window and came in.

The two middle-aged lovers were still sitting side by side and close together on the sofa. Fina was on her stepfather's knee, caressing his hand and Josephine's, which were clasped together on her little lap, while his other arm encircled the substantial waist of his promised bride, whose disengaged hand rested on his shoulder.

"Leam," said the father, "I have given you—"

He stopped. The name which he was about to utter, with all its passionate memories, was left unsaid. He remembered in time Leam's former renunciation of the new mamma whom he had once before proposed.

"I have asked Josephine Harrowby to be my wife," he said after a short pause. "She has consented, and made me very happy. Let me hope that it will make you happy too."

He spoke with forced calmness and something of sternness under his apparent serenity. In heart he was troubled, remembering the past and half fearing the future. How would she bear herself? Would she accept his relations pleasantly, or defy and reject as before?

Leam looked at the triad gravely. It was a family group with which she felt that she had no concern. She was outside it—as much alone as in a strange country. She knew in that deepest self which does not palm and lie to us that all her efforts to put herself in harmony with her life were in vain. Race, education and that fearful memory stood between her and her surroundings, and she never lost the perception of her loneliness save when she was with Edgar. At this moment she looked on as at a picture of love and gladness with which she had nothing in common; nevertheless, she accepted what she saw, and if not expansive—which was not her way—was, as her father said afterward, "perfectly satisfactory." She went up to the sofa slowly and held out her hand. "You are welcome," she said gravely to Josephine, but the contempt which she had always had for her father, though she had tried so hard of late to wear it down, surged up afresh, and she could not turn her eyes his way. What a despicable thing that must be, she thought—that thing he called his heart—to shift from one to the other so easily! To her, the keynote of whose character was single-hearted devotion, this facile, fluid love, which could be poured out with equal warmth on every one alike, was no love at all. It was a degraded kind of self-indulgence for which she had no respect; and though she did not feel for Josephine as she had felt for madame—as her mother's enemy—she despised her father even more now than before.

Also a rapid thought crossed her mind, bringing with it a deadly trouble. "If Josephine was her stepmother, would [pg 483] Major Harrowby be her stepfather?" They were brother and sister, and she had an idea that the family followed the relations of its members. She did not know why, but she would rather not have Major Harrowby for her stepfather or for any relation by law. She preferred that he should be wholly unconnected with her—just her friend unrelated: that was all.

"Thank you, dear Leam!" said Josephine gratefully; and Leam, looking at her with large mournful eyes, said in a soft but surprised tone of voice, "Thank me!—why?"

"That you accept me as your stepmother so sweetly, and do not hate me for it," said Josephine.

Leam glanced with a pained look at Fina. "I have done with hate," she answered. "It is not my business what papa likes to do."

"Sensible at last!" cried Mr. Dundas with a half-mocking, half-kindly triumph in his voice.

Leam turned pale. "But you must not think that I forget mamma as you do," she said with emphasis, her lip quivering.

"No, dear Leam, I would be the last to wish that you should forget your own mamma for me," said Josephine humbly. "Only try to love me a little for myself, as your friend, and I will be satisfied. Love always your own mamma, but me too a little."

"You are good," said Leam softly, her eyes filling with tears. "I do like you very much; but mamma—there is only one mother for me. None of papa's wives could ever be mamma to me."

"But friend?" said Josephine, half sobbing.

"Friend? yes," returned Leam; and for the first time in her life she bent her proud little head and kissed Josephine on her cheek. "And I will be good to you," she said quietly, "for you are good." She did not add, "And Edgar's sister."

The families approved of this marriage. Every one said it was what ought to have been when Pepita died, and that Mr. Dundas had missed his way and lost his time by taking that doubtful madame meanwhile. Adelaide and her mother were especially congratulatory; but, though the rector said he was glad for the sake of poor Josephine, who had always been a favorite of his, yet he could not find terms of too great severity for Sebastian. For a man to marry three times—it was scarcely moral; and he wondered at the Harrowbys for allowing one of their own to be the third venture. And then, though Josephine was a good girl enough, she was but a weak sister at the best; and to think of any man in his senses taking her as the successor of that delightful and superior madame!

Mrs. Birkett dissented from these views, and said it would keep the house together and be such a nice thing for Fina and Leam: both would be the better for a woman's influence and superintendence, and Josephine was very good.

"Yes," said the rector with his martial air—"good enough, I admit, but confoundedly slow."

To Edgar, Adelaide expressed herself with delightful enthusiasm. She was not often stirred to such a display of feeling. "It is the marriage of the county," she said with her prettiest smile—"the very thing for every one."

"Think so?" was his reply, made by no means enthusiastically. "If Joseph likes it, that is all that need be said; but it is a marvel to me how she can—such an unmanly creature as he is! such a muff all through!"

"Well, I own he would not have been my choice exactly," said Adelaide with a nice little look. "I like something stronger and more decided in a man; but it is just as well that we all do not like the same person; and then, you see, there are Leam and the child to be considered. Lean is such an utterly unfit person to bring up Fina: she is ruining her, indeed, as it is, with her capricious temper and variable moods; and dear Josephine's quiet amiability and good sense will be so valuable among them. I think we ought to be glad, as Christians, that such a chance is offered them."

"Whatever else you may be, at least [pg 484] you are no hypocrite," said Edgar with a forced smile that did not look much like approbation.

She chose to accept it simply. "No," she answered quite tranquilly, "I am not a hypocrite."

"At all events, you do not disguise your dislike to Leam Dundas," he said.

"No: why should I? I confess it honestly, I do not like her. The daughter of such a woman as her mother was; up to fifteen years of age a perfect savage; a heathen with a temper that makes me shudder when I think of it; capable of any crime. No, don't look shocked, Edgar: I am sure of it. That girl could commit murder; and I verily believe that she did push Fina into the water, as the child says, and that if Josephine had not got there in time she would have let her drown. And if I think all this, how can I like her?"

"No, if you think all this, as you say, you cannot like her," replied Edgar coldly. "I don't happen to agree with you, however, and I think your assumptions monstrous."

"You are not the first man blinded by a pair of dark eyes, Edgar," said Adelaide with becoming mournfulness. "It makes me sorry to see such a mind as yours dazzled out of its better sense, but you will perhaps come right in time. At all events, Josephine's marriage with Mr. Dundas will give you a kind of fatherly relation with Leam that may show you the truth of what I say."

"Fatherly relation! what rubbish!" cried Edgar, irritated out of his politeness.

Adelaide smiled. "Well, you would be rather a young father for her," she answered. "Still, the character of the relation will be, as I say, fatherly."

Edgar laughed impatiently.

"Society will accept it in that light," said Adelaide gravely, glad to erect even this barrier of shadows between the man of her choice and the girl whom she both dreaded and disliked.

And she was right in her supposition. Brother and sister marrying daughter and father would not be well received in a narrow society like North Aston, where the restrictions of law and elemental morality were supplemented by an adventitious code of denial which put Nature into a strait waistcoat and shackled freedom of action and opinion with chains and bands of iron. Perhaps it was some such thought as this on his own part that made Edgar profess himself disgusted with this marriage, and declare loudly that Sebastian Dundas was not worthy of such a girl as Josephine. His hearers smiled in their sleeves when he said so, and thought that Josephine Harrowby, thirty-five years of age, fat and freckled, was not so far out in her running to have got at last—they always put in "at last"—the owner of Ford House. It was more than she might have expected, looking at things all round; and Edgar was as unreasonable as proud men always are. With the redundancy of women as we have it in England, happy the head of the house who can get rid of his superfluous petticoats anyhow in honor and sufficiency. This was the verdict of society on the affair—the two extremities of the line wherefrom the same fact was viewed.

As for Josephine herself, dear soul! she was supremely happy. It was almost worth while to have waited so long, she thought, to have such an exquisite reward at last. She went back ten years in her life, and grew quite girlish and fresh-looking, and what was wanting in romance on Sebastian's part was made up in devotion and adoration on hers.

Sebastian himself took pleasure in her happiness, her adoration, the supreme content of her rewarded love. It made him glad to think that he had given so good a creature so much happiness; and he warmed his soul at his rekindled ashes as a philosophic widower generally knows how.

Only Leam began to look pitifully mournful and desolate, and to shrink back into a solitude which Edgar never invaded, and whence even Alick was banished; and Edgar was irritable, unpleasant, moody, would take no interest in the approaching marriage, and, save that his settlements on Josephine were liberal, seemed to hold himself personally [pg 485] aggrieved by her choice, and conducted himself altogether as if he had been injured somehow thereby, and his wishes disregarded.

He was very disagreeable, and caused Joseph many bitter hours, till at last he took a sudden resolution, and to the relief of every one at the Hill went off to London, promising to be back in time for "that little fool's wedding with her sentimental muff," as he disrespectfully called his sister and Sebastian Dundas, but giving no reason why he went, and taking leave of no one—not even of Adelaide, nor yet of Leam.



In he city of Whampo'

Live Joss-pidgin-man2 name Coe:

Mister Coe he missionaly,3

Catchee one cow-chilo4, Maly.

Father-man he leadee5 book,

Maly talkee with the cook:

Good olo6 father talkee Josh,7

But China-woman talkee bosh.

Bym'by Maly gettee so

She only Pidgin-English know,8

And father-man he solly9 see

She thinkee leason10 like Chinee.

One day some flin11 flom12 Boston come

And askee, "Mister Coe at home?"

He servant go to opee door,

But Maly lun13 chop-chop14 before.

An' stlanger15 say when in he come,

"Is Mister Coe, my dear, at home?"

And Maly answer velly tlue,

"My thinkee this tim no can do."16

He olo father, still as mouse,

Chin-chin Joss topsidey house:17

Allo tim he make Joss-pidgin,18

What you Fan-kwai19 callee 'ligion.

[pg 486]

He gentleum much stare galow20

To hearee girley talkee so;

And say, "Dear child, may I inquire

Which form of faith you most admire?"

And Maly answer he request:

"My like Chinee Joss-pidgin best:

My love Kwan-wán21 with chilo neat,

And Joss-stick22 smellee velly sweet."

"Afóng, our olo cook down stairs,

Make teachee Maly Chinee players:23

Say, if my chin-chin Fô24—oh joy!—

Nex time my born, my bornee boy!"25

"An' then my gettee nicey-new

A ittle dacket26—towsers too—And

And lun about with allo27 boys,

In bu'ful boots that makee noise."

Tear come in he gentleum eyes,

And then he anger 'gin to lise:28

He wailo29 scoldee Mister Coe

For 'glectin' little Maly so.

An' Mister Coe feel velly sore,

So go an' scoldy comprador;

An' comprador, with hollor30 shook,

Lun31 downy stairs and beatee cook.

And worsey állo-állo pain,

Maly go Boston homo 'gain:

No filee-clackers32 any more,

Nor talk with cook and comprador.


If Boston girley be let go,

She sartin sure to b'lieve in Fô,

And the next piecee of her plan

Is to lun lound33 and act like man.

So, little chilos,34 mind you look,

And nevee talkee with the cook:

You make so-fashion, first you know

You catchee sclape,35 like Maly Coe.


Footnote 1: (return)

"The Ballad of Mary Coe."

Footnote 2: (return)

Joss-pidgin-man, clergyman.

Footnote 3: (return)


Footnote 4: (return)

Had a female child.

Footnote 5: (return)

Leadee or leedee, read.

Footnote 6: (return)

Olo, old.

Footnote 7: (return)

Talkee Josh (or Joss), converses on religion.

Footnote 8: (return)

Pidgin-English, the

patois spoken in China, meaning business-English, pigeon being the ordinary Chinese pronunciation of English.

Footnote 9: (return)

Solly, sorry.

Footnote 10: (return)

Leason, reason.

Footnote 11: (return)

Flin, friend.

Footnote 12: (return)

Flom, from.

Footnote 13: (return)

Lun, run.

Footnote 14: (return)

Chop-chop, fast.

Footnote 15: (return)

Stlanger, stranger.

Footnote 16: (return)

"I think it can't be done"—i.e., "You cannot see him."

Footnote 17: (return)

Chin-chin Joss top-sidey house, he is praying up stairs.

Footnote 18: (return)


Footnote 19: (return)

Fan-kwai, foreigner; lit. "foreign devil."

Footnote 20: (return)

Galów, galáw or galá, a meaningless word, but much used.

Footnote 21: (return)

Kwan-wán, a Chinese female divinity represented with a babe in her arms.

Footnote 22: (return)

Joss-stick, a stick composed of fragrant gum, etc., burnt as incense.

Footnote 23: (return)


Footnote 24: (return)

Chin-chin Fô, worship Buddha.

Footnote 25: (return)

Chinese women believe that by frequent repetition of a prayer to Fô they can secure the privilege of being born again as males.

Footnote 26: (return)

Dacket, jacket.

Footnote 27: (return)

Allo, all.

Footnote 28: (return)

Lise, rise.

Footnote 29: (return)

Wailo, run, go.

Footnote 30: (return)


Footnote 31: (return)


Footnote 32: (return)


Footnote 33: (return)

Run round.

Footnote 34: (return)


Footnote 35: (return)


[pg 487]



MARITZBURG. November, 1875.

The weather at the beginning of this month was lovely and the climate perfection, but now (I am writing on its last day) it is getting very hot and trying. If ever people might stand excused for talking about the weather when they meet, it is we Natalians, for, especially at this time of year, it varies from hour to hour. All along the coast one hears of terrible buffeting and knocking about among the shipping in the open roadsteads which have to do duty for harbors in these parts; and it was only a few days ago that the lifeboat, with the English mail on board, capsized in crossing the bar at D'Urban. The telegram was—as telegrams always are—terrifying in its vagueness, and spoke of the mail-bags as "floating about." When one remembers the vast size of the breakers on which this floating would take place, it sounded hopeless for our letters. They turned up, however, a few days later—in a pulpy state, it is true, but quite readable, though the envelopes were curiously blended and engrafted upon the letters inside—so much so that they required to be taken together, for it was impossible to separate them. I had recourse to the expedient of spreading my letters on a dry towel and draining them before attempting to dissever the leaves. Still, we were all only too thankful to get our correspondence in any shape or form, for precious beyond the power of words to express are home-letters to us, so far away from home.

But to return to our weather. At first it was simply perfect. Bright hot days—not too hot, for a light breeze tempered even the midday heat—and crisp, bracing nights succeeded each other during the first fortnight. The country looked exquisitely green in its luxuriant spring tints over hill and dale, and the rich red clay soil made a splendid contrast on road and track with the brilliant green on either hand. Still, people looked anxiously for more rain, declaring that not half enough had fallen to fill tanks or "shuits" (as the ditches are called), and it took four days of continuous downpour to satisfy these thirsty souls even for the moment. Toward the middle of the month the atmosphere became more oppressive and clouds began to come up in thick masses all round the horizon, and gradually spread themselves over the whole sky. The day before the heaviest rain, though not particularly oppressive, was remarkable for the way in which all manner of animals tried to get under shelter at nightfall. The verandah was full of big frogs: if a door remained open for a moment they hopped in, and then cried like trapped birds when they found themselves in a corner. As for the winged creatures, it was something wonderful the numbers in which they flew in at the windows wherever a light attracted them. I was busy writing English letters that evening: I declare the cockroaches fairly drove me away from the table by the mad way in which they flung themselves into my ink-bottle, whilst the smell of singed moths at the other lamp was quite overpowering. Well, after this came rain indeed—not rain according to English ideas, but a tropical deluge, as many inches falling in a few hours as would fill your rain-gauges for months. I believe my conduct was very absurd that first rainy night. The little house had just been newly papered, and as the ceiling was not one to inspire confidence, consisting as it did merely of boards roughly joined together and painted white, through which and through the tiles beyond the sky could be seen quite plainly, I suffered the gravest doubts about the water getting in and spoiling my pretty new paper. Accordingly, whenever any burst of rain came heavier than its immediate predecessor, I jumped out of bed in a perfect agony of mind, [pg 488] and roamed, candle in hand, all over the house to see if I could not detect a leak anywhere. But the unpromising-looking roof and ceiling stood the test bravely, and not a drop of all that descending downpour found its way to my new walls.

By the way, I must describe the house to you, remarking, first of all, that architecture, so far as my observation extends, is at its lowest ebb in South Africa. I have not seen a single pretty building of any sort or kind since I arrived, although in these small houses it would be so easy to break by gable and porch the severe simplicity of the unvarying straight line in which they are built. Whitewashed outer walls with a zinc roof are not uncommon, and they make a bald and hideous combination until kindly, luxuriant Nature has had time to step in and cover up man's ugly handiwork with her festoons of roses and passion-flowers. Most of the houses have, fortunately, red-tiled roofs, which are not so ugly, and mine is among the number. It is so squat and square, however, that, as our landlord happens to be the chief baker of Maritzburg, it has been proposed to christen it "Cottage Loaf," but this idea requires consideration on account of the baker's feelings. In the mean time, it is known briefly as "Smith's," that being the landlord's name. It has, as all the houses here have, a broad projecting roof extending over a wide verandah. Within are four small rooms, two on either side of a narrow passage which runs from one end to the other. By a happy afterthought, a kitchen has been added beyond this extremely simple ground-plan, and on the opposite side a corresponding projection which closely resembles a packing-case, and which has been painted a bright blue inside and out. This is the dining-room, and evidently requires to be severely handled before its present crude and glaring tints can be at all toned down. At a little distance stands the stable, saddle-room, etc., and a good bedroom for English servants, and beyond that, again, among large clumps of rose-bushes, a native hut. It came up here half built—that is, the frame was partly put together elsewhere—and it resembled a huge crinoline more than anything else in its original state. Since that, however, it has been made more secure by extra pales of bamboo, each tied in its place with infinite trouble and patience by a knot every inch or two. The final stage consisted of careful thatching with thick bundles of grass laid on the framework, and secured by long ropes of grass binding the whole together. The door is the very smallest opening imaginable, and inside it is of course pitch dark. All this labor was performed by stalwart Kafir women, one of whom, a fearfully repulsive female, informed my cook that she had just been bought back by her original husband. Stress of circumstances had obliged him to sell her, and she had been bought by three other husband-masters since then, but was now resold, a bargain, to her first owner, whom, she declared, she preferred to any of the others. But few as are these rooms, they yet are watertight—which is a great point out here—and the house, being built of large, awkward blocks of stone, is cool and shady. When I have arranged things a little, it will be quite comfortable and pretty; and I defy any one to wish for a more exquisite view than can be seen from any corner of the verandah. We are on the brow of a hill which slopes gently down to the hollow wherein nestles the picturesque little town, or rather village, of Maritzburg. The intervening distance of a mile or so conceals the real ugliness and monotony of its straight streets, and hides all architectural shortcomings. The clock-tower, for instance, is quite a feature in the landscape, and from here one cannot perceive that the clock does not go. Nothing can be prettier than the effect of the red-tiled roofs and white walls peeping out from among thick clumps of trees, whilst beyond the ground rises again to low hills with deep purple fissures and clefts in their green sides. It is only a couple of years since this little house was built and the garden laid out, and yet the shrubs and trees are as big as if half a dozen years had passed over their leafy heads. As for the roses, I never saw anything like [pg 489] the way they flourish at their own sweet will. Scarcely a leaf is to be seen on the ugly straggling tree—nothing but masses of roses of every tint and kind and old-fashioned variety. The utmost I can do in the way of gathering daily basketsful appears only in the light of judicious pruning, and next day a dozen blossoms have burst forth to supply the place of each theft of mine. And there is such a variety of trees! Oaks and bamboos, blue gums and deodars, seem to flourish equally well within a yard or two of each other, and the more distant flower-beds are filled with an odd mixture of dahlias and daturas, white fleur-de-lis and bushy geraniums, scarlet euphorbias and verbenas. But the weeds! They are a chronic eyesore and grief to every gardener. On path and grass-plat, flower-bed and border, they flaunt and flourish. "Jack," the Zulu refugee, wages a feeble and totally inadequate warfare against them with a crooked hoe, but he is only a quarter in earnest, and stops to groan and take snuff so often that the result is that our garden is precisely in the condition of the garden of the sluggard, gate and all. This hingeless condition of the gate, however, is, I must in fairness state, neither Jack's nor our fault. It is a new gate, but no one will come out from the town to hang it. That is my standing grievance. Because we live about a mile from the town it is next to impossible to get anything done. The town itself is one of the shabbiest assemblages of dwellings I have ever seen in a colony. It is not to be named on the same day with Christchurch, the capital of Canterbury, New Zealand, which ten years ago was decently paved and well lighted by gas. Poor sleepy Maritzburg consists now, at more than forty years of age (Christchurch is not twenty-five yet), of a few straight, wide, grass-grown streets, which are only picturesque at a little distance on account of their having trees on each side. On particularly dark nights a dozen oil-lamps standing at long intervals apart are lighted, but when it is even moderately starlight these aids to finding one's way about are prudently dispensed with. There is not a single handsome and hardly a decent building in the whole place. The streets, as I saw them after rain, are veritable sloughs of despond, but they are capable of being changed by dry weather into deserts of dust. It is true, I have only been as yet twice down to the town, but on both visits it reminded me more of the sleepy villages in Washington Irving's stories than of a smart, modern, go-ahead colonial "city." There are some fairly good shops, but they make no show outside, and within the prices of most of the articles sold are nearly double the same things would bring either at Melbourne or at Christchurch. As D'Urban is barely a month away from London in point of communication, and New Zealand (when I knew it) nearly treble the distance and time, this is a great puzzle to me.

A certain air of quaint interest and life is given to the otherwise desolate streets by the groups of Kafirs and the teams of wagons which bring fuel and forage into the town every day. Twenty bullocks drag these ponderous contrivances—bullocks so lean that one wonders how they have strength to carry their wide-spreading horns aloft; bullocks of a stupidity and obstinacy unparalleled in the natural history of horned beasts. At their head walks a Kafir lad called a "forelooper," who tugs at a rope fastened to the horns of the leading oxen, and in moments of general confusion invariably seems to pull the wrong string and get the whole team into an inextricable tangle of horns and yokes. Sometimes of a quiet Sunday morning these teams and wagons I see "out-spanned" on the green slopes around Maritzburg, making a picturesque addition to the sylvan scenery. Near each wagon a light wreath of smoke steals up into the summer air, marking where some preparation of "mealies" is on foot, and the groups of grazing oxen—"spans," as each team is called—give the animation of animal life which I miss so sadly at every turn in this part of the world.

In Maritzburg itself I only noticed two buildings which made the least effect. One is the government house, standing [pg 490] in a nice garden and boasting of a rather pretty porch, but otherwise reminding one—except for the sentinel on duty—of a quiet country rectory: the other is a small block comprising the public offices. The original idea of this square building must have come from a model dairy. But the crowning absurdity of the place is the office of the colonial secretary, which stands nearly opposite. I am told that inside it is tolerably comfortable, being the remains of an old Dutch building: outside, it can only be compared to a dilapidated barn on a bankrupt farm, and when it was first pointed out to me I had great difficulty, remembering similar buildings in other colonies, in believing it was a public office.

The native police look very smart and shiny in their white suits, and must be objects of envy to their black brethren on account of their "knobkerries," the knobbed sticks which they alone are permitted to carry officially in their hands. The native loves a stick, and as he is forbidden to carry either an assegai—which is a very formidable weapon indeed—or even a knobkerry, only one degree less dangerous, he consoles himself with a wand or switch in case of coming across a snake. You never see a Kafir without something of the sort in his hand: if he is not twirling a light stick, then he has a sort of rude reed pipe from which he extracts sharp and tuneless sounds. As a race, the Kafirs make the effect of possessing a fine physique: they walk with an erect bearing and a light step, but in true leisurely savage fashion. I have seen the black race in four different quarters of the globe, and I never saw one single individual move quickly of his own free will. We must bear in mind, however, that it is a new and altogether revolutionary idea to a Kafir that he should do any work at all. Work is for women—war or idleness for men; consequently, their fixed idea is to do as little as they can; and no Kafir will work after he has earned money enough to buy a sufficient number of wives who will work for him. "Charlie," our groom—who is, by the way, a very fine gentleman and speaks "Ingeliss" after a strange fashion of his own—only condescends to work until he can purchase a wife. Unfortunately, the damsel whom he prefers is a costly article, and her parents demand a cow, a kettle and a native hut as the price of her hand—or hands, rather—so Charlie grunts and groans through about as much daily work as an English boy of twelve years old could manage easily. He is a very amusing character, being exceedingly proud, and will only obey his own master, whom he calls his great inkosi or chief. He is always lamenting the advent of the inkosi-casa, or chieftainess, and the piccaninnies and their following, especially the "vaiter," whom he detests. In his way, Charlie is a wag, and it is as good as a play to see his pretence of stupidity when the "vaiter" or French butler desires him to go and eat "sa paniche." Charlie understands perfectly that he is told to go and get his breakfast of mealy porridge, but he won't admit that it is to be called "paniche," preferring his own word "scoff;" so he shakes his head violently and says, "Nay, nay, paniche." Then, with many nods, "Scoff, ja;" and so in this strange gibberish of three languages he and the Frenchman carry on quite a pretty quarrel. Charlie also "mocks himself" of the other servants, I am informed, and asserts that he is the "indema" or headman. He freely boxes the ears of Jack, the Zulu refugee—poor Jack, who fled from his own country, next door, the other day, and arrived here clad in only a short flap made of three bucks' tails. That is only a month ago, and "Jack" is already quite a petit maître about his clothes. He ordinarily wears a suit of knickerbockers and a shirt of blue check bound with red, and a string of beads round his neck, but he cries like a baby if he tears his clothes, or still worse if the color of the red braid washes out. At first he hated civilized garments, even when they were only two in number, and begged to be allowed to assume a sack with holes for the arms, which is the Kafir compromise when near a town between clothes and flaps made of the tails of wild beasts or strips of hide. But he soon came to delight in [pg 491] them, and is now always begging for "something to wear."

I confess I am sorry for Jack. He is the kitchen-boy, and is learning with much pains and difficulty the wrong language. My cook is also French, and, naturally, all that Jack learns is French, and not English. Imagine poor Jack's dismay when, after his three years' apprenticeship to us is ended, he seeks perhaps to better himself, and finds that no one except madame can understand him! Most of their dialogues are carried on by pantomime and the incessant use, in differing tones of voice, of the word "Ja." Jack is a big, loutish young man, but very ugly and feeble, and apparently under the impression that he is perpetually "wanted" to answer for the little indiscretion, whatever it was, on account of which he was forced to flee over the border. He is timid and scared to the last degree, and abjectly anxious to please if it does not entail too much exertion. He is, as it were, apprenticed to us for three years. We are bound to feed and clothe and doctor him, and he is to work for us, in his own lazy fashion, for small wages. The first time Jack broke a plate his terror and despair were quite edifying to behold. Madame called him a "maladroit" on the spot. Jack learned this word, and after his work was over seated himself gravely on the ground with the fragments of the plate, which he tried to join together, but gave up the attempt at last, announcing in his own tongue that it was "dead." After a little consideration he said slowly, several times, "Maldraw, ja," and hit himself a good thump at each "ja." Now, I grieve to say, Jack breaks plates, dishes and cups with a perfectly easy and unembarrassed conscience, and is already far too civilized to care in the least for his misfortunes in that line. Whenever a fowl is killed—and I came upon Jack slowly putting one to death the other day with a pair of nail-scissors—he possesses himself of a small store of feathers, which he wears tastefully placed over his left ear. A gay ribbon, worn like a bandeau across the forehead, is what he really loves. Jack is very proud of a tawdry ribbon of many colors with a golden ground which I found for him the other day, only he never can make up his mind where to wear it; and I often come upon him sitting in the shade with the ribbon in his hands, gravely considering the question.

The Pickle and plague of the establishment, however, is the boy Tom, a grinning young savage fresh from his kraal, up to any amount of mischief, who in an evil hour has been engaged as the baby's body-servant. I cannot trust him with the child out of my sight for a moment, for he "snuffs" enormously, and smokes coarse tobacco out of a cow's horn, and is anxious to teach the baby both these accomplishments. Tom wears his snuff-box—which is a brass cylinder a couple of inches long—in either ear impartially, there being huge slits in the cartilage for the purpose, and the baby never rests till he gets possession of it and sneezes himself nearly into fits. Tom likes nursing Baby immensely, and croons to him in a strange buzzing way which lulls him to sleep invariably. He is very anxious, however, to acquire some words of English, and I was much startled the other day to hear in the verandah my own voice saying, "What is it, dear?" over and over again. This phrase proceeded from Tom, who kept on repeating it, parrot-fashion—an exact imitation, but with no idea of its meaning. I had heard the baby whimpering a little time before, and Tom had remarked that these four words produced the happiest effect in restoring good-humor; so he learned them, accent and all, on the spot, and used them as a spell or charm on the next opportunity. I think even the poor baby was puzzled. But one cannot feel sure of what Tom will do next. A few evenings ago I trusted him to wheel the perambulator about the garden-paths, but, becoming anxious in a very few minutes to know what he was about, I went to look for him. I found him grinning in high glee, watching the baby's efforts at cutting his teeth on a live young bird. Master Tom had spied a nest, climbed the tree, and brought down the poor little bird, which he presented to the child, who instantly [pg 492] put it into his mouth. When I arrived on the scene Baby's mouth was full of feathers, over which he was making a very disgusted face, and the unhappy bird was nearly dead of fright and squeezing, whilst Tom was in such convulsions of laughter that I nearly boxed his ears. He showed me by signs how Baby insisted on sucking the bird's head, and conveyed his intense amusement at the idea. I made Master Tom climb the tree instantly and put the poor little half-dead creature back into its nest, and sent for Charlie to explain to him he should have no sugar—the only punishment Tom cares about—for two days. I often think, however, that I must try and find another penalty, for when Tom's allowance of sugar is stopped he "requisitions" that of every one else, and so gets rather more than usual. He is immensely proud of the brass chin-strap of an old artillery bushy which has been given to him. He used to wear it across his forehead in the favorite Kafir fashion, but as the baby always made it his first business to pull this shining strap down over Tom's eyes, and eventually over Tom's mouth, it has been transferred to his neck.

These Kafir-lads make excellent nurse-boys generally, and English children are very fond of them. Nurse-girls are rare, as the Kafir women begin their lives of toil so early that they are never very handy or gentle in a house, and boys are easier to train as servants. I heard to-day, however, of an excellent Kafir nurse-maid who was the daughter of a chief, and whose only drawback was the size of her family. She was actually and truly one of eighty brothers and sisters, her father being a rich man with twenty-five wives. That simply means that he had twenty-five devoted slaves, who worked morning, noon and night for him in field and mealy-patch without wages. Jack the Zulu wanted to be nurse-boy dreadfully, and used to follow Nurse about with a towel rolled up into a bundle, and another towel arranged as drapery, dandling an imaginary baby on his arm, saying plaintively, "Piccaninny, piccaninny!" This Nurse translated to mean that he was an experienced nurse-boy, and had taken care of a baby in his own country, but as I had no confidence in maladroit Jack, who chanced to be very deaf besides, he was ruthlessly relegated to his pots and pans.

It is very curious to see the cast-off clothes of all the armies of Europe finding their way hither. The natives of South Africa prefer an old uniform coat or tunic to any other covering, and the effect of a short scarlet garment when worn with bare legs is irresistibly droll. The apparently inexhaustible supply of old-fashioned English coatees with their worsted epaulettes is just coming to an end, and being succeeded by ragged red tunics, franc-tireurs' brownish-green jackets and much-worn Prussian gray coats. Kafir-Land may be looked upon as the old-clothes shop of all the fighting world, for sooner or later every cast-off scrap of soldier's clothing drifts toward it. Charlie prides himself much upon the possession of an old gray great-coat, so patched and faded that it may well have been one of those which toiled up the slopes of Inkerman that rainy Sunday morning twenty years ago; whilst scampish Tom got well chaffed the other day for suddenly making his appearance clad in a stained red tunic with buff collar and cuffs, and the number of the old "dirty Half-hundred" in tarnished metal on the shoulder-scales. "Sir Garnet," cried Charlie the witty, whilst Jack affected to prostrate himself before the grinning imp, exclaiming, "O great inkosi!"

Charlie is angry with me just now, and looks most reproachfully my way on all occasions. The cause is that he was sweeping away sundry huge spiders' webs from the roof of the verandah (the work of a single night) when I heard him coughing frightfully. I gave him some lozenges, saying, "Do your cough good, Charlie." Charlie received them in both hands held like a cup, the highest form of Kafir gratitude, and gulped them all down on the spot. Next day I heard the same dreadful cough, and told F—— to give him some more lozenges. But Charlie would have none of them, alleging he "eats plenty to-morrow's yesterday, and dey no good [pg 493] at all;" and he evidently despises me and my remedies.

If only there were no hot winds! But the constant changes are so trying and so sudden. Sometimes we have a hot, scorching gale all day, drying and parching one's very skin up, and shriveling one's lovely roses like the blast from a furnace: then in the afternoon a dark cloud sails suddenly up from behind the hills to the west. It is over the house before one knows it is coming: a loud clap of thunder shakes the very ground beneath one's feet, others follow rapidly, and a thunderstorm bewilders one for some ten minutes or so. A few drops of cold rain fall to the sound of the distant thunder, now rolling away eastward, which yet "struggles and howls at fits." It is not always distant, but we have not yet seen a real thunderstorm; only a few of these short, sudden electrical disturbances, which come and go more like explosions than anything else. A few days ago there was a duststorm which had a very curious effect as we looked down upon it from this hill. All along the roads one could watch the dust being caught up, as it were, and whirled along in dense clouds, whilst the poor little town itself was absolutely blotted out by the blinding masses of fine powder. For half an hour or so we could afford to watch and smile at our neighbors' plight, but soon we had to flee for shelter ourselves within the house, for a furious hot gale drove heavily up behind the dust and nearly blew us away altogether. Still, there was no thunderstorm, though we quite wished for one to cool the air and refresh the parched and burnt-up grass and flowers. Such afternoons are generally pretty sure to be succeeded by a cold night, and perhaps a cold, damp morning; and one can already understand that these alternations during the summer months are apt to produce dysentery among young children. I hear just now of a good many such cases among babies.

I have been so exceedingly busy this month packing, arranging and settling that there has been but little time for going about and seeing the rather pretty environs of Maritzburg; besides which, the weather is dead against excursions, changing as it does to rain or threatening thunderstorms nearly every afternoon. One evening we ventured out for a walk in spite of growlings and spittings up above among the crass-looking clouds. Natal is not a nice country, for women at all events, to walk in. You have to keep religiously to the road or track, for woe betide the rash person who ventures on the grass, though from repeated burnings all about these hills it is quite short. There is a risk of your treading on a snake, and a certainty of your treading on a frog. You will soon find your legs covered with small and pertinacious ticks, who have apparently taken a "header" into your flesh and made up their minds to die sooner than let go. They must be the bull-dogs of the insect tribe, these ticks, for a sharp needle will scarcely dislodge them. At the last extremity of extraction they only burrow their heads deeper into the skin, and will lose this important part of their tiny bodies sooner than yield to the gentlest leverage. Then there are myriads of burs which cling to you in green and brown scales of roughness, and fringe your petticoats with their sticky little lumps. As for the poor petticoats themselves, however short you may kilt them, you bring them back from a walk deeply flounced with the red clay of the roads; and as the people who wash do not seem to consider this a disadvantage, and take but little pains to remove the earth-stains, one's garments gradually acquire, even when clean, a uniform bordering of dingy red. All the water at this time of year is red too, as the rivers are stirred up by the heavy summer rains, and resemble angry muddy ditches more than fresh-water streams. I miss at every turn the abundance of clear, clean, sparkling water in the creeks and rivers of my dear New Zealand, and it is only after heavy rain, when every bath and large vessel has been turned into a receptacle during the downpour, that one can compass the luxury of an inviting-looking bath or glass of drinking-water. Of course this turbid water renders it pretty difficult to get one's [pg 494] clothes properly washed, and the substitute for a mangle is an active Kafir, who makes the roughly-dried clothes up into a neat parcel, places them on a stone and dances up and down upon them for as long or short a time as he pleases. Fuel is so enormously dear that the cost of having clothes ironed is something astounding, and altogether washing is one of the many costly items of Natalian housekeeping. When I remember the frantic state of indignation and alarm we were all in in England three years ago when coals rose to £2 10s. a ton, and think how cheap I should consider that price for fuel here, I can't help a melancholy smile. Nine solid sovereigns purchase you a tolerable-sized load of wood, about equal for cooking purposes to a ton of coal; but whereas the coal is at all events some comfort and convenience to use, the wood is only a source of additional trouble and expense. It has to be cut up and dried, and finally coaxed and cajoled by incessant use of the bellows into burning. Besides the price of fuel, provisions of all sorts seem to me to be dear and bad. Milk is sold by the quart bottle: it is now fourpence per bottle, but rises to sixpence during the winter. Meat is eightpence a pound, but it is so thin and bony, and of such indifferent quality, that there is very little saving in that respect. I have not tasted any really good butter since we arrived, and we pay two shillings a pound for cheesy, rancid stuff. I hear that "mealies," the crushed maize, are also very dear, and so is forage for the horses. Instead of the horses being left out on the run night and day, summer and winter, as they used to be in New Zealand, with an occasional feed of oats for a treat, they need to be carefully housed at night and well fed with oaten straw and mealies to give them a chance against the mysterious and fatal "horse-sickness," which kills them in a few hours. Altogether, so far as my very limited experience—of only a few weeks, remember—goes, I should say that Natal was an expensive place to live in, owing to the scarcity and dearness of the necessaries of life. I am told that far up in the country food and fuel are cheap and good, and that it is the dearness and difficulty of transport which forces Maritzburg to depend for its supplies entirely on what is grown in its own immediate vicinity, where there is not very much land under cultivation; so we must look to the coming railway to remedy all that.

If only one could eat flowers, or if wheat and other cereals grew as freely and luxuriously as flowers grow, how nice it would be! On the open grassy downs about here the blossoms are lovely—beautiful lilies in scarlet and white clusters, several sorts of periwinkles, heaths, cinnerarias, both purple and white, and golden bushes of citisus or Cape broom, load the air with fragrance. By the side of every "spruit" or brook one sees clumps of tall arum lilies filling every little water-washed hollow in the brook, and the ferns which make each ditch and water-course green and plumy have a separate shady beauty of their own. This is all in Nature's own free, open garden, and when the least cultivation or care is added to her bounteous luxuriance a magnificent garden for fruit, vegetables and flowers is the result; always supposing you are fortunate enough to be able to induce these lazy Kafirs to dig the ground for you.

About a fortnight ago I braved the dirt and disagreeables of a cross-country walk in showery weather—for we have not been able to meet with a horse to suit us yet—and went to see a beautiful garden a couple of miles away. It was approached by a long double avenue of blue gum trees, planted only nine years ago, but tall and stately as though a century had passed over their lofty, pointed heads, and with a broad red clay road running between the parallel lines of trees. The ordinary practice of clearing away the grass as much as possible round a house strikes an English eye as bare and odd, but when one hears that it is done to avoid snakes, it becomes a necessary and harmonious adjunct to the rest of the scene. In this instance I found these broad smooth walks, with their deep rich red color, a very beautiful contrast to the glow of brilliant blossoms in the enormous [pg 495] flower-beds. For this garden was not at all like an ordinary garden, still less like a prim English parterre. The beds were as large as small fields, slightly raised and bordered by a thick line of violets. Large shrubs of beautiful semitropical plants made tangled heaps of purple, scarlet and white blossoms on every side; the large creamy bells of the datura drooped toward the reddish earth; thorny shrubs of that odd bluish-green peculiar to Australian foliage grew side by side with the sombre-leaved myrtle. Every plant grew in the most liberal fashion; green things which we are accustomed to see in England in small pots shoot up here to the height of laurel bushes; a screen of scarlet euphorbia made a brilliant line against a background formed by a hedge of shell-like cluster-roses, and each pillar of the verandah of the little house had its own magnificent creeper. Up one standard an ipomea twined closely; another pillar was hidden by the luxuriance of a trumpet-honeysuckle; whilst a third was thickly covered by an immense passion-flower. In shady, damp places grew many varieties of ferns and blue hydrangeas, whilst other beds were filled by gay patches of verbenas of every hue and shade. The sweet-scented verbena is one of the commonest and most successful shrubs in a Natal garden, and just now the large bushes of it which one sees in every direction are covered by tapering spikes of its tiny white blossoms. But the feature of this garden was roses—roses on each side whichever way you turned, and I should think of at least a hundred different sorts. Not the stiff standard rose tree of an English garden, with its few precious blossoms, to be looked at from a distance and admired with respectful gravity. No: in this garden the roses grow as they might have grown in Eden—untrained, unpruned, in enormous bushes covered entirely by magnificent blossoms, each bloom of which would have won a prize at a rose-show. There was one cloth-of-gold rose bush that I shall never forget—its size, its fragrance, its wealth of creamy-yellowish blossoms. A few yards off stood a still bigger and more luxuriant pyramid, some ten feet high, covered with the large, delicate and regular pink bloom of the souvenir de Malmaison. When I talk of a bush I only mean one especial bush which caught my eye. I suppose there were fifty cloth-of-gold and fifty souvenir rose bushes in that garden. Red roses, white roses, tea roses, blush-roses, moss roses, and, last not least, the dear old-fashioned, homely cabbage rose, sweetest and most sturdy of all. You could wander for acres and acres among fruit trees and plantations of oaks and willows and other trees, but you never got away from the roses. There they were, beautiful, delicious things at every turn—hedges of them, screens of them and giant bushes of them on either hand. As I have said before, though kept free from weeds by some half dozen scantily-clad but stalwart Kafirs with their awkward hoes, it was not a bit like a trim English garden. It was like a garden in which Lalla Rookh might have wandered by moonlight talking sentimental philosophy with her minstrel prince under old Fadladeen's chaperonage, or a garden that Boccaccio might have peopled with his Arcadian fine ladies and gentlemen. It was emphatically a poet's or a painter's garden, not a gardener's garden. Then, as though nothing should be wanting to make the scene lovely, one could hear through the fragrant silence the tinkling of the little "spruit" or brook at the bottom of the garden, and the sweet song of the Cape canary, the same sort of greenish finch which is the parent stock of all our canaries, and whose acquaintance I first made in Madeira. A very sweet warbler it is, and the clear, flute-like notes sounded prettily among the roses. From blossom to blossom lovely butterflies flitted, perching quite fearlessly on the red clay walk just before me, folding and unfolding their big painted wings. Every day I see a new kind of butterfly, and the moths which one comes upon hidden away under the leaves of the creepers during the bright noisy day are lovely beyond the power of words. One little fellow is a great pet of mine. He wears pure white wings, [pg 496] with vermilion stripes drawn in regular horizontal lines across his back, and between the lines are shorter, broken streaks of black, which is at once neat and uncommon; but he is always in the last stage of sleepiness when I see him.

I am so glad little G—— is not old enough to want to catch them all and impale them upon corks in a glass case; so the pretty creatures live out their brief and happy life in the sunshine, without let or hinderance from him.

The subject of which my mind is most full just now is the purchase of a horse. F—— has a fairly good chestnut cob of his own; G—— has become possessed, to his intense delight, of an aged and long-suffering Basuto pony, whom he fidgets to death during the day by driving him all over the place, declaring he is "only showing him where the nicest grass grows;" and I want a steed to draw my pony-carriage and to carry me. F—— and I are at dagger's drawn on this question. He wants to buy me a young, handsome, showy horse of whom his admirers predict that "he will steady down presently," whilst my affections are firmly fixed on an aged screw who would not turn his head if an Armstrong gun were fired behind him. His owner says Scotsman is "rising eleven:" F—— declares Scotsman will never see his twentieth birthday again. F—— points out to me that Scotsman has had rough times of it, apparently, in his distant youth, and that he is strangely battered about the head, and has a large notch out of one ear. I retaliate by reminding him how sagely the old horse picked his way, with a precision of judgment which only years can give, through the morass which lies at the foot of the hill, and which must be crossed every time I go into town (and there is nowhere else to go). That morass is a bog in summer and a honey-comb of deep ruts and holes in winter, which, you must bear in mind, is the dry season here. Besides his tact in the matter of the morass, did I not drive Scotsman the other day to the park, and did he not comport himself in the most delightfully sedate fashion? You require experience to be on the lookout for the perils of Maritzburg streets, it seems, for all their sleepy, deserted, tumble-down air. First of all, there are the transport-wagons, with their long span of oxen straggling all across the road, and a nervous bullock precipitating himself under your horse's nose. The driver, too, invariably takes the opportunity of a lady passing him to crack his whip violently, enough to startle any horse except Scotsman. Then when you have passed the place where the wagons most do congregate, and think you are tolerably safe and need only look out for ruts and holes in the street, lo! a furious galloping behind you, and some half dozen of the "gilded youth" of Maritzburg dash past you, stop, wheel round and gallop past again, until you are almost blinded with dust or smothered with mud, according to the season. This peril occurred several times during my drive to and from the park, and I can only remark that dear old Scotsman kept his temper better than I did: perhaps he was more accustomed to Maritzburg manners.

When the park was reached at last, across a frail and uncertain wooden bridge shaded by large weeping willows, I found it the most creditable thing I had yet seen. It is admirably laid out, the natural undulations of the ground being made the most of, and exceedingly well kept. This in itself is a difficult matter where all vegetation runs up like Jack's famous beanstalk, and where the old proverb about the steed starving whilst his grass is growing falls completely to the ground. There are numerous drives, made level by a coating of smooth black shale, and bordered by a double line of syringas and oaks, with hedges of myrtle or pomegranate. In some places the roads run alongside the little river—a very muddy torrent when I saw it—and then the oaks give way to great drooping willows, beneath whose trailing branches the river swirled angrily. On fine Saturday afternoons the band of the regiment stationed here plays on a clear space under some shady trees—for you can never sit or stand on the grass in Natal, and even [pg 497] croquet is played on bare leveled earth—and everybody rides or walks or drives about. When I saw the park there was not a living creature in it, for it was, as most of our summer afternoons are, wet and cold and drizzling; but, considering that there was no thunderstorm likely to break over our heads that day, I felt that I could afford to despise a silent Scotch mist. We varied our afternoon weather last week by a hailstorm, of which the stones were as big as large marbles. I was scoffed at for remarking this, and assured it was "nothing, absolutely nothing," to the great hailstorm of two years ago, which broke nearly every tile and pane of glass in Maritzburg, and left the town looking precisely as though it had been bombarded. I have seen photographs of some of the ruined houses, and it is certainly difficult to believe that hail could have done so much mischief. Then, again, stories reach me of a certain thunderstorm one Sunday evening just before I arrived in which the lightning struck a room in which a family was assembled at evening prayers, killing the poor old father with the Bible in his hand, and knocking over every member of the little congregation. My informant said, "I assure you it seemed as though the lightning were poured out of heaven in a jug. There were no distinct flashes: the heavens appeared to split open and pour down a flood of blazing violet light." I have seen nothing like this yet, but can quite realize what such a storm must be like, for I have observed already how different the color of the lightning is. The flashes I have seen were exactly of the lilac color he described, and they followed each other with a rapidity of succession unknown in less electric regions. And yet my last English letters were full of complaints of the wet weather in London, and much self-pity for the long imprisonment in-doors. Why, those very people don't know what weather inconveniences are. If London streets are muddy, at all events there are no dangerous morasses in them. No matter how much it rains, people get their comfortable meals three times a day. Here, rain means a risk of starvation (if the little wooden bridge between us and the town were to be swept away) and a certainty of short commons. A wet morning means damp bread for breakfast and a thousand other disagreeables. No, I have no patience with the pampered Londoners, who want perpetual sunshine in addition to their other blessings, for saying one word about discomfort. They are all much too civilized and luxurious, and their lives are made altogether too smooth for them. Let them come out here and try to keep house on the top of a hill with servants whose language they don't understand, a couple of noisy children and a small income, and then, as dear Mark Twain says, "they'll know something about woe."


An invitation to take dinner with a friend in the State's prison was something new and exciting to a quiet little body like me, and I re-read Ruth Denham's kindly-worded note to that effect, and thought how odd it was that we should meet again in this way after ten years' separation and all the changes that had intervened in both our lives. We had parted last on the night of our grand closing-school party, after having been friends and fellow-pupils for five years. She was then fifteen, and the prettiest, brightest and cleverest girl at Lynnhope. I was younger, and felt distinguished by her friendship, and heart-broken at the idea of losing her, for she was going abroad with her family, while [pg 498] I remained to complete my studies at the institute.

I had plenty of letters the first year, but then her father died, and with him went his reputed fortune. A painful change occurred in the position of the Welfords in consequence, and Ruth became a teacher, as I heard, until she met and married a young man from the West, whither she returned with him immediately after the ceremony. She had written to me once after becoming Ruth Denham, and her letter was kind and cordial as her old self, but the correspondence thus renewed soon ceased. I was also an orphan, but a close attendant at the couch of my invalid aunt; and Ruth's new strange life was too crowded with pressing duties to permit her to write regularly to her girlhood's companion, whom she had not seen for years. My aunt had now recovered so far as to indulge a taste for travel. We were on our way by the great railroad to the Pacific coast, and we stopped at the small capital of one of the newest States to discover that Ruth Denham was a resident there, the wife of the lieutenant-governor, who was consequently the warden of the State prison. The note I held in my hand was in answer to one I had despatched to her an hour before by the hands of a Chinaman from the hotel, and it was as glad and affectionate as I could wish:

"My husband is quite ill with sciatica, which completely lames him, as well as causing him intense pain. I am his only attendant, or I would fly to you at once, my dearest Jenny. I am so sorry you leave by the midnight train for San Francisco to-morrow, but must be content to see you as much of the day as you can spare us, and hope for a longer visit on your return. We dine at four: may I not send the carriage for you as early as two o'clock?

"Your loving friend,


I had my aunt's permission to leave her, and was ready at the appointed hour to find the carriage there to the minute; and a very comfortable, easy conveyance it proved over one of the worst roads I ever traveled on.

The prison was about a mile from the outskirts of the straggling town, which boasted two or three fine State buildings, in strong contrast with its scattering and mostly mean and shambling dwellings. Some hot springs had been discovered near the site, and over them had been erected a wooden hotel and baths of the simplest order of architecture and on the barest possible plan of ornament or comfort. Just beyond this edifice was the prison, situated at the rise of one hill and under the shadow of another and more considerable one. It was built of a softish, light-colored stone dug from a neighboring quarry, as the driver told me, and looking even at a cursory glance too destructible and crumbling to secure such desperate and determined inmates.

"They used to keep 'em in a sort o' wooden shed," said my driver, alluding to the prisoners, "until they got this shebang fixed up. Pretty smart lot of chaps they were, for they built it themselves mostly, and made good time on it, too."

It was surrounded by a high wooden fence, within which a stone wall of the same material as the building was in course of construction.

"If it wasn't Sunday," said my companion as we drove through the guarded gate, "you could see 'em at work, for they're putting up their defences, and doing it first-rate, too."

I had only time for a glance at the inside of the enclosure. We were already at the principal entrance, which was a wide door opening into a hall, with a staircase leading up to the second floor. On the right hand was a strongly-grated iron door opening into the main corridor between the cells: the other side seemed to be devoted to offices and quarters for the guards. I saw knots of men about, but only the two at the entrance appeared to be armed, and they had that lounging, easy air, that belongs to security and the absence of thought. It was in every respect opposite to my preconceived idea of a penitentiary, and all recollection of its first design fled when I saw Ruth's cheery face, bright and handsome [pg 499] as ever, beaming on me from the first landing, and felt her warm, firm arms clasping me in an embrace of affectionate welcome. It was my friend's home, and nothing else, from that moment, and a very pretty, daintily-ordered home it was. She had five rooms on the second floor, with a kitchen below: this was her parlor in front, a bright, well-furnished room, tastefully ornamented with pictures, some of which I recognized as her own paintings in our school-days; and here was her dining-room to the left, with a small guest-chamber that she hoped I would occupy when I returned. The other rooms on the west of the parlor were hers and Nellie's—Oh, I had not seen Nellie, her five-year-old, nor her dear husband, who was so much better to-day, though he could not rise without difficulty; and would I therefore come and see him?

As Ruth gave me thus a passing glance at her household arrangements, I saw through the open door of an apartment back of the dining-room a light shower of plaster fall to the ground, marking the oilcloth that covered the floor, and for one instant sending out into the hall a puff of whitish dust.

"Oh, that is one of the effects of our terribly dry climate," said Ruth, following my glance and noticing the dust: "every little while portions of our walls crumble and fall in like that. There is no doubt a sad litter in Mr. Foster the clerk's room, where that shower occurred: he has gone to the city for the day, however, and it can be cleared before his return. Here is my husband, Jenny."

In a recess by the parlor window, on a lounge, Mr. Denham was trying to disguise the necessity for keeping his tortured limb extended by an appearance of smiling ease. He was a handsome, frank-faced man, with a firm, fearless eye and a gentle, kindly mouth, and I could readily understand my friend's look of sweet content when I saw him and her child Nellie, who was hanging over her papa with the fond protecting air of a precocious nurse. I sat down quickly beside them to prevent my host's attempting to rise, and the hour that elapsed before dinner flew by in interesting conversation.

"I am so sorry I had to go for a little while," said Ruth, returning to announce that meal, "but my good Wang-Ho is sick to-day, and I had to help him a little."

"Where is Lester, Ruth?" asked her husband.

"Oh, he is kind and helpful as ever, but he does not understand making dessert, you know, Edward."

"That's true, and Miss Jane will excuse you, I am sure, for she and I have been reviewing the principal features of pioneer-life, and she professes herself rather in love with it than otherwise."

"It is all so fresh and enjoyable, despite its discomforts and inconveniences," I said; "and need I quote a stronger argument in its favor than yourself, my dear Ruth? You seem perfectly happy, and I really cannot see why you should not be so."

She had her golden-haired little girl in one arm, and she laid the other hand caressingly on her husband's shoulder, "There is none: I am happy," she said in a low, earnest tone; and then added laughingly, "or I shall be as soon as Edward gets well of sciatica and Wang-Ho recovers from his chills."

Mr. Denham begged us to go before him, and his wife led the way to the dining-room.

"Poor fellow!" she whispered, "he suffers horribly when he moves, and I tried to persuade him to have his dinner sent into the parlor, but in honor of your presence he will come, and he doesn't want us to see him wince and writhe under the effort."

Just as we entered the dining-room a young man came in by another door, carrying a tray with dishes. I had seen plenty of Chinamen, but this was not one, nor could I reconcile his appearance with the position of a servant. He was tall, well-made, and his face, though unnaturally pale, was decidedly good-looking. He wore a pair of coarse gray pantaloons with a remarkable stripe down one leg, but had on a beautifully clean and fine, white shirt fastened at the throat [pg 500] with a diamond button. The weather was warm, and he was without coat or vest, and had a sash of red knitted silk, such as Mexicans wear, round his middle.

Ruth took the dishes from him and placed them on the table. "Please tell Wang-Ho about the coffee, Lester," she said as he retired.

"Is that man a servant, Ruth?" I asked in an astonished whisper.

"No," she replied in the same low tone: "he is a murderer condemned for life."

Mr. Denham hobbled in and slid down upon a seat. I appreciated his gallant attention, but it was painful to see the effort it cost: besides, much as I had seen, and familiar as I was becoming with pioneer life, to be waited on at dinner by a young and handsome murderer condemned to prison for life was a sensation new and startling, and I was full of curiosity as to the nature of his crime and the peculiar administration of the Western penal code that made house-servants of convicts. Seeing my perturbation, Ruth evidently intended to relieve it by the explanatory remark of "He is a 'trusty,' Jenny dear," but really threw no light whatever on the subject.

It was a very nice dinner, served tastefully and with a home comfort about everything connected with the table that seemed most unlike a prison. Mr. Denham's intelligence and cheerfulness added to the delusion that I was enjoying the hospitalities of a cultivated Eastern home. He and his wife had kept themselves thoroughly familiar with all topics of general interest through the medium of periodicals, and had much to ask about the actual progress of improvements they had read of and the changes occurring among dear and familiar Eastern scenes.

Lester came in again with the empty tray, and quietly gathered the plates from the table preparatory to placing dessert. I wanted to look at him—indeed, a fascination I could not resist drew my eyes to his face like a magnet—yet, somehow, I dared not keep them there: the consciousness of meeting his glance, and feeling that I should then be ashamed of my curiosity, made them drop uneasily every time he turned; and once when I found his gaze rest on me an instant, I felt myself color violently under the quiet look of his steel-gray eyes.

One thing was very observable in the little group: the child Nellie was intensely fond of the man, and he himself seemed to entertain and constantly endeavor to express an exalted admiration for Mr. Denham. While the latter was speaking Lester's animated looks followed every word and gesture: he anticipated his unexpressed wishes, and watched to save him the trouble of moving or asking for anything.

"No, no, Nellie, stay and finish your dinner: Lester is not quite ready for you yet." Her mother said this in reference to the child's eagerness to follow the trusty attendant from the room, and her neglect of her meal in consequence. "Nellie is in the habit of carrying up the sugar and cream for the coffee, and she thinks Lester cannot possibly get on if she does not assist," said Ruth in smiling explanation as Nellie hastened after him.

The next instant there was the mingled sound of a heavy fall or succession of falls outside, and one quick, stifled scream from the child.

"The dumb-waiter, quick! It has broken from its weights and scalded Nell with the hot coffee," cried Ruth, making a spring toward the door by which Lester had gone out.

Her husband, forgetting his lameness, was instantly at her side, but some force held the door against them both, and abandoning it after the first effort, the father turned hurriedly to the one leading into the hall. I sat nearest that, and in the excitement I had moved quickly aside, so that when it was flung violently open the moment before my host the governor of the prison reached it, I was thrust back against the wall, from which place, half dead with fright, I saw the hall crowded with convicts, the foremost of whom held a pistol directly toward Mr. Denham's head.

It snapped with a sharp report, and when the smoke cleared I found Mr. Denham had dodged the fire and was [pg 501] closed in a scuffle with the villain for the weapon. A dozen more seemed to spring on him from the threshold; I heard his wife's cry of agony; and then the door at the other side burst in, and Lester, with his gray eyes gleaming like a flame, bounded over the body of a bloody convict that fell from his grasp as he broke into the room. Quick as thought he caught up one of the heavy chairs in his hands, and bringing it down with desperate force on the heads of the governor's assailants, felled one, while the other staggered back and dropped his pistol. Mr. Denham caught it like a flash, and fired it in the face of a wretch who was aiming at Lester's heart. The convicts fell back, and over their bodies the governor and his aid sprang into the crowded hall.

"The child! the child! O God! my little daughter!" It was Ruth's voice in tones of such anguish and terror as I never before heard uttered by human voice.

She was looking from the window into the yard below, and there she beheld Nellie lifted up as a shield against the guns of the guards by a party of the escaping convicts. The little creature was deadly white and perfectly silent: her great blue eyes were wide and frozen with fright, and her little hands were clasped in entreating agony and stretched toward her mother.

"Stand behind me and shoot them down, governor," cried Lester, dealing steady blows with the now broken chair, and trying to make his own body a shield for Mr. Denham. The governor continued to fire on the convicts, who were pouring in a steady stream down the stairs from out of the room where I had seen the shower of dust, and through the ceiling of which, as it was afterward, proved, they had cut a hole, and so escaped from the upper corridor of the prison.

I tried to hold Ruth in my arms, for in her frenzy to reach her child she had flung up the window and endeavored to drop from it at the risk of her life. "They will not dare to hurt her: God will protect her innocent life," was all I could say, when a random ball from below struck the window-frame, and, glancing off, stunned without wounding the wretched mother. She fell, jarred by the shock, and I drew her as well as I could behind the door, on the other side of which lay the two bleeding prisoners who had tried to take her husband's life.

Groans, shouts, curses, yells and pistol-shots sounded in the hall and on the stairs; only the back of the chair remained in Lester's grasp, but heaps of men felled by its weight and crushed by their struggling fellows had tumbled down and been kicked over the broken balustrade to the hall below.

The guards had rallied from their surprise, and sparing the escaped for the sake of the precious shield they bore, turned their fire upon the escaping, cutting them off until the whole corridor below was blocked with wounded, dead and dying. One more man appeared at the clerk's door: he was a powerful fellow with a horse-pistol and a stone-hammer. Lester had staggered back from a flying iron bar aimed at his head by a villain he struck at without reaching, and who had bounded down the stairs to receive his death from the guard's musket at the door. The prisoner with the horse-pistol saw his advantage, and, cursing the governor in blasphemous rage, aimed at him as he fled. Recovering himself, Lester struck for his arm, but not soon enough to stop the fire: the charge reached its object, but not his heart, as it was meant to do. It glanced aside, and Mr. Denham's pistol dropped: his right arm fell maimed at his side; but the field was clear, and Lester, catching the fallen pistol, went down the stairs over the bodies in a series of flying leaps.

"Where's my wife?" exclaimed Mr. Denham, turning round dizzily and trying to steady his head with his uninjured hand. "Tell her I've gone for Nellie;" and he made an effort to rush after Lester, but, reaching the top of the stairs, dropped suddenly upon a convict's body stretched there by his own pistol. Then I saw by the reddish hole in his trousers just below the knee that he had been wounded before, though he did not know it, and was now streaming with blood.

[pg 502]

"Where's Nell? where's Edward?" asked Ruth, sitting up with a ghastly face, and looking at me in a bewildered stare.

"All right, all safe, tell the lady," cried a clear, exulting voice from below: "here's sweet little Miss Nellie, without a scratch on her."

It was Lester's shout from the yard, and it rang through all the building.

"Do you hear, Ruth? do you hear?" I screamed, beside myself with joy and thankfulness. "He has saved your husband a dozen times, that hero, and now he brings back your child to you. Oh, what a noble fellow! how I envy him his feelings!"

He was in the room by this time with Nellie in his arms: he heard me and gave me just one look. I never saw him again, but I never shall forget it, for it revealed the long agony of a blighted life that moment struggling into hope again through expiation. He did not wait for Ruth's broken cry of gratitude, but was gone as soon as the child was in her arms.

"Come, boys," I heard him cry cheerily outside, "lend a hand to help the governor to his room: he's got a scratch or two, and the doctor's coming to dress them. He will be all right again before we can get things set straight round here."

Governor Denham's wounds were not so slight as Lester hoped, but they were not dangerous, and when, to prevent my aunt's alarm for my safety (for the news of "the break" spread rapidly through the town), I parted from my friends before nightfall and rode back to the hotel as I had come, I left three of the most excitedly grateful and happy people behind me I had ever seen.

"I suppose it is no use to urge it further, Ruth darling," said her husband as we parted, "but I really wish you would go to San Francisco with our friend and let Nellie have a chance to forget the shock she has endured. You need the change too, if you would ever think of yourself."

"It is because I do think of myself that I prefer to remain where I am happiest," said Ruth decidedly. "As for Nell, she is a pioneer child, and will soon be as merry and fearless as ever. But, Jenny dear, we owe you an apology for the novel dinner-party we have given you. When you come back it will seem like a frightful dream, and not a reality, we shall all be so quiet and orderly again." As we stood alone in the hall, from which every sign of the late terrible conflict had been removed save the bloodstains that had sunk into the stone beyond the power of a hasty washing to obliterate, Ruth said in a low whispering tone that was full of pent-up feeling, "I told you that Lester was a murderer condemned for life, Jenny, but there were extenuating circumstances in connection with his crime. That is not his name we call him by: I do not even know his real one, but I am convinced that he belongs to educated and reputable people, and that he suffers the keenest remorse for the wild life that led him so terribly astray. He became desperately attached to a Spanish girl, who was married as a child to a brutal fellow who deserted her, and she thought him dead. She and Lester were to be married, I believe, when the missing husband reappeared and tormented them both. The girl he treated shockingly, and it was in a fit of rage at his abuse of her that Lester killed him; but appearances were all against the deed, and he was convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced for life. Edward is kind and discriminating, and he pitied him. Lester told his story freely, and my husband gained his lasting gratitude by taking care of the wretched girl and paying her passage in a vessel bound for her native town in Mexico. The only favor we could show him here was to separate him from the wretches in the common prison by making him a 'trusty' or prison-servant. He understood our motive in doing so, and was very thankful and most reliable. What we owe him to-day you know: he makes light of it, protesting that he only picked up Nell from the gulch where the escaped convicts had dropped her on their way to the hills; but he cannot lessen the debt: it is too great to be calculated even."

[pg 503]

The subsequent report proved that twenty-eight prisoners had conspired to effect the break, and by secreting the tools they wrought with in their sleeves passed in on Saturday from the wall-building to cut an entrance through the ceiling of their own corridor into the loft above Mr. Foster's room, through which they dropped while the family were at dinner, choosing that hour so as to produce a surprise and secure the child, who always went below with Lester to help carry up the coffee. Of the whole number, five were killed outright and six wounded: twelve escaped uninjured, but were nearly all afterward retaken; and five repented their share in the movement or lacked courage to carry it out, and so remained in the prison. The most interesting item of the whole came to me at San Francisco in my friend's letter. It said: "We are looking forward with great delight to your visit, and planning every pleasure our sterile life can yield to make it enjoyable. But you will not see Lester: he is gone. His pardon, full and entire in view of his courage and fidelity, and the manly stand he took against the murderous plotters, came on Monday last, and at nightfall he left the prison to go by the stage to meet the midnight train. 'To Mexico!' were his last words to us. Heaven bless him, and grant him wisdom and courage to retrieve the past and open a fair bright future!"



[From Friederich Bodenstedt's Aus dem Nachlasse Mirza-Schaffys.]

Aloft the moon in heaven's dome.

Sultry the night, tempests foretelling:

For the last time before I roam

I see the surf in splendor swelling.

A ship glides by, a shadowy form,

Faint roseate lights around me sparkle,

A gathering mist precedes the storm,

And far-off forest tree-tops darkle.

The silver-crested waves are lashing

The pebbly shore tumultuously:

Absorbed I watch their ceaseless dashing,

Myself as still as bush or tree.

Within arise fond memories

Of moonlight evenings long since vanished,

Once full of life as waves and breeze,

From this familiar shore now banished.

Hushed in the grove is the birds' song,

Spring's blossoms tempests caused to perish;

Yet what through eye and ear did throng

The heart for evermore will cherish.


[pg 504]


While I was a teacher in the Illinois Institution for the Deaf and Dumb the following letters were written by some of the pupils. The first was written the day after Thanksgiving, and ran thus:

"DEAR MOTHER: We had Thanks be unto God, no school yesterday, Turkey mince-pies, and many other kinds of fruits."

The day after Christmas a boy wrote: "We had Glory to God in the highest, no school yesterday, and a fine time." What he really meant to say was, that they had a motto in evergreens of "Glory to God in the Highest," and they had also a holiday.

This motto, by the way, got up by the pupils themselves, was striking. It was placed over one of the dining-room doors, and the ceiling being very low it was necessarily put just under it. A single glance sufficed to show the utter impossibility of getting the "Glory" any higher.

The younger pupils write in almost every letter, "There are —— pupils in this institution, —— boys and —— girls. All of the pupils are well, but some are sick." This is English pretty badly broken.

These letters serve to illustrate a remark which Principal Peet of the New York institution made to me not long ago: "The great difficulty in instructing deaf mutes is in teaching them the English language." In this, of course, he had reference to the deaf mutes of our own country, and his statement appears, on its face, paradoxical. That American children should learn at least to read the English language, even when they cannot speak it, seems quite a matter of course. The fact is, however, different. The first disadvantage under which the deaf mute labors is the limited extent to which his mental powers have been developed. This deficiency is attributable to two causes—his deprivation of the immense amount of information to be gained by the sense of hearing, and his want of language. Before an infant, one possessed of all its faculties, has acquired at least an understanding of articulate language, it has but vague and feeble ideas. No clear, distinct conception is shaped in its mind. "Ideas," says M. Marcel in his essay on the Study of Languages, "are not innate: they must be received before they can be communicated. This is so true that native curiosity impels us to listen long before we can speak.... Impression ... must therefore precede expression." Real thought, therefore, it will be seen, grows with the child's acquisition of language—an acquisition which is obtained in the earlier years entirely through the organ of hearing. This principal avenue to the mind is closed to the deaf mute. It is evident, therefore, that, lacking these two fundamental sources of all knowledge, his mental growth is incredibly slower than that of the hearing child. All that can be learned by means of the other senses is, however, learned rapidly, these being quickened and stimulated by the absence of one. Hence, the deaf-mute child of eight or ten years of age often appears as bright and intelligent as his more favored playmate. The latter, however, has a store of knowledge and a fund of thought wholly unknown to the deaf mute.

But it is the want of written language, and the obstacles in the way of its acquirement, which constitute the chief disability of the deaf mute in the attempt to gain an education. If you set a child of seven years of age to learn Greek, requiring him to receive and express his ideas wholly in that language, you would not hope for any very clear expression of those ideas with less than a year's instruction, nor would you expect him to appreciate the delicate beauties of the Odyssey in that length of time. The progress of the deaf mute in any [pg 505] language, even the most simply constructed, is greatly slower than that of the hearing child. The latter is assisted at every step by his previous knowledge of his vernacular. The former does not think in words, as you have done from your earliest recollection. Undertake to do your thinking in a foreign tongue, of which you have but a limited knowledge: the attempt is discouraging. The deaf mute thinks in signs. This, his only vehicle of thought, is a hindrance instead of a help in learning written language, there being no analogy whatever between the two methods of expressing ideas.

With these tremendous odds against him the deaf-mute child is set to the task of acquiring a knowledge of written language. His ideas (in signs) shape themselves in this wise: "Horses, two, run fast." Of course he does not think these words. The idea of a horse, its shape and color, is probably imaged in his mind, or if the horse be not present to his sight, the sign which he uses for that animal comes into his thought. He next touches or grasps or holds up two of his fingers, which he uses on all occasions to express number. Then the idea of running by means of its sign, and lastly that of speed, suggest themselves, the last two, however, being probably closely connected, as in our own minds.

Observe, here, that the order in which the thoughts arrange themselves is different from the manner of those who think by means of words. The main idea is "horse," and he gives it the preference, as the older and more simply constructed languages always did. It is reserved for our cultured and perfected language to describe an object before telling what that object is. Who will say that it is according to philosophical principles that we say, "A fine large red apple," instead of "An apple, fine, red, large"? A deaf-mute boy tells me that he saw two dogs fighting yesterday. He explains it in signs in this manner: "Dogs, two, fight; first, second ear bit, blood much. Second ran, hid; saw yesterday, I." Thus the fact is arranged in his mind. Let him attempt to translate—for it is nothing but translation—this simple statement into English. The perplexity which first seizes the hapless school-boy over his "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres" is nothing to it. Like him, he must go hunting, as if for a needle in a haystack, for the word to put first. It is the last idea in his sign-sentence. Then he slowly learns to pick out the words and arrange them in English order—an order, as I said before, not founded on philosophical principles, but in most instances wholly arbitrary. This is by no means an easy task. Years of training do not ensure him against ludicrous lapses. A fair percentage of the whole number educated learn to construct sentences with tolerable accuracy; a smaller percentage of these acquire fluency, precision and, in some rare instances, grace of expression; but a large proportion never become good English scholars.

The method of beginning their instruction is by means of simple familiar objects, or, where these cannot be obtained, illustrations of them. A picture of a horse is placed, at one end of the teacher's blackboard. Instantly two fingers of each hand go up to the top of each little head. If it were a picture of an animal with longer ears, each would make an ass of himself. So far so good, only they do not know the name of this animal, familiar as they are with him. The teacher writes the name under the picture. The article "A" is also written, which, though it puzzles them, they must take on trust. It cannot be explained at this stage. The teacher then holds up an ear of corn. Of course they know that very well, and make the sign for it, shelling the fore finger. It is then laid upon the opposite end of the blackboard, and its name written under it. A short pause, with a glance first at the horse and then at the corn, soon brings out the sign for "eats," which is written in its proper place, and the sentence is complete. The little "ignorants," as they are dubbed by the older pupils, are then plunged head and ears into the task of learning to form the written characters as well as the construction of sentences. [pg 506] It is setting foot in an unexplored wilderness. No ray of light penetrates the darkness of that wilderness save the tiny torch just placed in their hands.

Mr. Isaac Lewis Peet, principal of the New York institution, before referred to in this paper, has lately been preparing a textbook for the use of deaf-mute instructors, which promises to be of great value. It reduces the whole of the earlier stages of instruction to a perfected system, by which each part of speech, with the various moods and tenses of the verbs, the different cases of nouns, etc., is brought out in successive stages entirely by means of sentences. A few illustrations will suffice to show the scope of the work, which promises to be of much value also in the ordinary school-room, for which it is likewise designed by the author. An object, such as a pitcher, is placed on the teacher's desk. A pupil is required to come forward and touch it. The teacher then asks the question, writing it upon the blackboard or spelling it upon his fingers, "What did John do?" Answer, "He touched the pitcher." A change from a boy to a girl brings out another pronoun; a change of objects, another noun; a change of actions, another verb.

In this way, by gradual, systematic stages, the language is taught by actual and constant use, the teacher doing away entirely with signs in the school-room. This is an end constantly aimed at in deaf-mute instruction, as it forces the pupils to use language instead of signs to express their thoughts. By constant effort at first, and constant practice, words gradually take the place of signs in their modes of thought, though not perhaps entirely.

Objective ideas are readily acquired by deaf mutes, their perceptive faculties being usually keen and quick. Abstract subjects are less readily apprehended, and sometimes cause great surprise. One Sunday morning Dr. Gillett, principal of the Illinois institution, had for the Scripture lesson in the chapel the "Resurrection." When he had made it plain and simple for the comprehension of the new pupils, some of the ideas, brought out by the lesson caused great astonishment, and even consternation among them. The little fellows shook their heads in utter skepticism at the thought of themselves dying.

"I'm not going to die," said one. "Sick people die: I'm well and strong;" standing on his feet and shaking his arms in attestation of the fact.

"But you will be sick some time," said Dr. G., "and you will have to die."

But they did not believe him in the least. The next morning one little fellow met the principal and said, "You said yesterday I was going to die: well, here I am, and I ain't dead yet."

On Monday morning, when they assembled in school, they were still full of the new ideas. "Dr. Gillett had said they all had to die: would they, truly?" they asked me. I could only confirm the statement. Whereupon they all began drawing graves, tombstones, weeping willows, and all such funereal paraphernalia upon the blackboards. It was a solemn scene, save for my own irrepressible laughter, which they thought very unaccountable when they learned that I must suffer a like fate. I explained as cheerfully as I could the delights of going to heaven, whereupon one boy burst into tears, saying he did not want to go to heaven: he would rather go home and see his mother.

One asked if we should go to heaven in the cars. I said I had been told that we should go through the air, perhaps fly there. A little girl immediately held up a wood-cut of a vulture, saying, "Ugly thing! I don't want to be one." A boy whose new skates lay spoiling for the ice in his trunk asked if he could skate there. Not having quite the faith of the author of Gates Ajar, I could not answer "Yes" unhesitatingly. A girl asked if fishes went to heaven. I answered "No." "Where, then?" I replied that we ate the fishes, but was greatly troubled afterward lest she should confound me with the question, "What becomes of the snakes?"

In addition to the ordinary one-hand alphabet, the only one commonly used by deaf mutes, there are five others. [pg 507] One of these is the two-hand alphabet, sometimes used by hearing children at school. It is clumsy and inconvenient, however. A second is made by the arms alone. Still a third is formed by means of the body and arms also, in various positions, to represent the different letters, and is used in signaling at a distance. It is not often learned by deaf mutes, however. A fourth is made entirely with the feet. But the most curious of all is the facial or expression alphabet. Various emotions and passions expressed on the face represent, by means of their initial letters, the letters of the alphabet. Thus, A is indicated by an expression of avarice, B by boldness, C by curiosity, D by devotion, etc. This alphabet is sometimes so admirably rendered that words can easily be spelled by means of it by the spectators.

Deaf mutes also excel in pantomime. A large amount of gesture and pantomime is naturally employed in their conversation, and it thus becomes easy to train them to perform pantomimic plays. I have seen one young man, a deaf mute, whose narration in this manner of a hunter who made a pair of buckskin breeches, hung them up during the summer, drew them on when the rainy season came on, and found a hornet's nest within, was interpreted amid roars of laughter. Thus told, it was far more vivid than words could have possibly made it, and infinitely more amusing.

The sign-language, growing slowly from natural signs—i.e., signs representing the shape, quality or use of objects, or the action expressed by verbs—has at length become a perfected system. This language is the same throughout Europe and America, so that deaf mutes from any country of Christendom who have acquired the regular system can readily communicate with each other, however diverse their nationality. Being formed from analogy, many of the signs are exceedingly expressive. Thus, the sign for "headache" is made by darting the two forefingers toward each other just in front of the forehead. The sign for "summer" is drawing the curved forefinger across the brow, as if wiping off the sweat. "Heat," or rather "hotness," is expressed by blowing with open mouth into the hand, and then shaking it suddenly as if burned. "Flame" and "fire" are represented by a quivering, upward motion of all the fingers. The memory of the ancient ruffled shirt of our forefathers is perpetuated in the sign for "genteel," "gentility" or "fine." It is the whole open hand, with fingers pointing upward, shaken in front of the breast. "Gentleman" and "lady" are expressed by the signs for "man" (the hat-brim) and "woman" (the bonnet-string), followed by the ruffled-shirt sign. The sign for "Jesus" is doubtless the most tender and touching in the whole language. It is made by touching the palm of each hand in succession with the middle finger of the other. This represents the print of the nails. The name "Jesus" itself does not convey so pathetic and expressive a meaning as does this sign.

Hearing persons who understand the sign-language sometimes find it exceedingly convenient as a means of communicating when they wish to be private, I remember an amusing incident occurring at a festival which I attended while teaching in the Illinois institution. Another teacher and myself sat apart, surrounded by entire strangers. Near by stood a lady in a gorgeous green silk dress, with many gaudy accessories. My companion remarked in signs to me upon her striking costume. I replied in like manner, expressing my appreciation of so magnificent a proportion of apple-green silk. There was a great deal of lady, but a great deal more of dress.

"See them dummies, Jake," she remarked to her husband at her side, whose dazzling expanse of bright-figured velvet waistcoat and massive gold chain was in admirable keeping with his wife's attire. It was a landscape, begging the word, after Turner's own heart. "Them's two dummies from the asylum, I know," she continued. "Let's watch 'em make signs." And she gazed upon us from the serene heights of green sward with an amused, patronizing smile.

We dared not laugh. Dummies we had been dubbed, and dummies we must [pg 508] remain to the end of the scene. Were ever mortals in such a fix? We talked them over well, however, while suffering tortures from our pent-up emotions.

"That there one's rayther good-looking," ventured the proprietor of the velvet and gold.

"Not so mighty, either," said his wife, bridling. "Face is too chalky-like, and the other one is too fat." This was near being the death of us both, as the two critics together would have turned the scale at near five hundred. Consternation seized us just then, however, as we saw a fellow-teacher approaching us who would be sure to address us in spoken language and reveal us as two cheats. Hastily retreating from the scene, we made our way to an anteroom, where it was not considered a sin to laugh.

The instruction of deaf mutes in articulate speech has of late years attracted considerable attention in both Europe and America. In some of the European schools, in the Clark Institute at Northampton, Massachusetts, and in a few of our State institutions it is brought to great perfection. There are also special schools for this system of teaching in most of our large cities. The majority of pupils in these schools converse with ease, and understand readily what is said to them by means of the motion of the lips. The Clark Institute at Northampton, already referred to, under the conduct of Miss Harriet Rogers, is the largest and most widely known of the schools for this special method of instruction in this country. This is not a State institution, but one endowed by the munificence of a private gentleman, and consequently subject to none of the restrictions imposed on the public institutions. Of course, only the most promising pupils are sent there, and from these a careful selection is made, by which means the highest possible success is ensured. Some of the State institutions, however, burdened as they are with a large and unassorted mass of pupils, have made most encouraging progress in this direction. Of these, one of the most successful is the Illinois institution. In its last published report the correspondence between the principal and the parents of those pupils who have been taught by this method is given, showing the utmost satisfaction at the progress made and results attained.

Deaf mutes are divided into two classes—viz., entire mutes and semi-mutes. The first comprises those who either have been born deaf or have become so at so early an age as to have retained no knowledge of articulate speech. The second class embraces those who have lost their hearing after attaining such an age as still to be able to talk. Speech is more easily and perfectly learned if the pupil has learned to read before the loss of hearing. A knowledge of the sounds and powers of the letters enables him to acquire the pronunciation of new words with much greater facility than would be otherwise possible, giving him a foundation on which to build his acquisition of spoken language. To this last class, semi-mutes, articulation is invaluable, enabling them to pursue their education with less difficulty, and also to retain their power of communication with the outside world. In regard to entire mutes, the utility of the accomplishment is seriously questioned by some experienced educators. The fact must be admitted that, while a much larger number of entire mutes can be taught to converse intelligently and agreeably than would be imagined by those unacquainted with the results obtained, the great mass of the deaf and dumb must still be instructed wholly by means of written language. In most instances, to ensure success, instruction should be begun at a very much earlier age than it is possible to receive them into school, and constantly practiced by all who hold communication with the pupil, doing away entirely with the habit of using signs. It also requires pupils of bright, quick mind, keen perceptive faculties, and an amount of intelligence and perseverance on the part of the parents not found in the average parent of deaf mutes; for it is well known that a very large proportion of deaf mutes come from the poorer and more illiterate classes. This is mainly attributable to the fact that by far the larger number lose their hearing in [pg 509] infancy or early childhood through disease—scarlet fever, measles and diphtheria being probably the most frequent causes of deafness. Among those able to give skillful nursing and to obtain good medical aid the number of cases resulting in deafness is reduced to a minimum. Accidents, too, causing deafness, occur more frequently among those unable to give their children proper care. Congenital deafness is also probably greater among the laboring classes, and is undoubtedly due to similar causes.

The methods used in the teaching of articulation form a subject of much interest. The system has materially changed within the past few years. The first step to be taken is to convey a knowledge of the powers of the consonants and sounds of the vowels. Formerly, this was done by what was called the "imitation method." The letter H was usually the point of attack, the aspirate being the simplest of all the powers of the letters. The teacher, holding up the hand of the pupil, makes the aspirate by breathing upon his palm. This is soon imitated, and thus a starting-point is gained. The feeling produced upon the hand is the method of giving him an idea of the powers of the consonants. A later and better system is that called "visible speech." This is a system of symbols representing positions of the mouth and tongue and all the organs of speech, and if the pupil does what the symbols direct he cannot help giving the powers of the letters correctly. By this method a more distinct and perfect articulation is gained, with one-half the labor of the other method. As fast as the powers of the letters are learned, the spelling of words is undertaken. Many words are pronounced perfectly after a few trials: others, however, often defy the most strenuous and persevering effort.

Entire mutes who undertake articulation are like hearing children endeavoring to keep up the full curriculum of a modern school and pursue the study of music in addition: the ordinary studies demand all the energies of the child. Articulation consumes much time and strength. Exceptional cases are of course to be found which are indeed a triumph of culture, but the great mass of the deaf and dumb must always be content with written language.

Articulation is also exceedingly trying to the unused or long-disused throat and lungs. In this the teachers are likewise sufferers. The tax upon the vocal organs is necessarily much greater than that in ordinary speaking schools. But the disuse of the vocal organs in articulate speech does not indicate that they are wholly unused. A lady visiting an institution for the deaf and dumb a few years ago poetically called the pupils the "children of silence." Considering the tremendous volume of noise they are able to keep up with both feet and throat, the title is amusingly inappropriate. A deaf-and-dumb institution is the noisiest place in the world.

In summing up the results usually attained, let no discontented taxpayer grumble at the large outlays annually made in behalf of the deaf and dumb. If they learned absolutely nothing in the school-room, the intelligence they gain by contact with each other, by the lectures in signs, by intercourse with teachers, and the regular and systematic physical habits acquired, are of untold value. Add to this a tolerable acquaintance with the common English branches, such as reading, writing, arithmetic—one of their most useful acquirements—geography and history, and we have an amount of education which is of incalculable value.


[pg 510]



Wartburg, with its pleasant memories of delightful excursions during the previous summer, was covered with snow, as if buried in slumber, when I dashed past it on the 25th of March. A gray mantle of mist obscured the sky, and by all the roadsides stood bushes loaded with green buds shivering in the frosty air. The exquisite landscape, which I had last seen glowing with such brilliant hues, now appeared robed in one monotonous tint of gray, and the ancient towers and pointed roofs of Weimar loomed with a melancholy aspect through the dense fog. Only the welcome of my faithful friends, Gerhard Rohlfs and his pretty, fair-haired wife, was blithe and gay. The brave desert wanderer and bird of passage has now built himself a little wigwam or nest near the railway-station: the grand duke of Weimar gave him for the purpose a charming piece of ground with a delightful view. On the 25th of March a light veil of snow still rested on the ground, but two days later we were listening to the notes of the lark and gathering violets to take to Schiller's house and adorn the table of the beloved singer. Everything was illumined by the brilliant sunlight—the narrow bedstead on which he died, and all the numerous withered laurel-wreaths and bouquets of flowers that filled it—while outside, in Schiller's little garden, in the bed where his bust is placed, violets nodded at us between the leaves of the luxuriant ivy.

And we carried in our hands bouquets of violets when we stood before Goethe's house to pay our respects to the lady who in these bustling days remains a revered memento of the times of Carl Augustus and his poet-friend—Ottilie von Goethe. The beloved daughter-in-law of the great master of song lives in the poet's house in the utmost seclusion: few strangers know that she receives visitors. Only on rare occasions is the classic little salon opened in the evening to a select few—only now and then, when the health of the aged lady permits it, a circle of faithful friends gather round her listening eagerly to her vivid descriptions of long-past days. The grand duke himself often knocks at this door, and the grand duchess and princesses take pleasure in coming hither. With deep emotion we crossed the threshold over which Goethe's coffin was borne, and with light step ascended the broad, easy staircase of the house that we had so often heard described. Half-effaced frescoes, which had gleamed over the head of the king of poesy, looked down upon us, and our eyes wandered over the bronze figures past which Goethe had walked day after day.

On reaching the second story, Ottilie von Goethe came forward to greet us, looking like an apparition from another world. Her figure was small and fragile, but there was an aristocratic repose in all her movements. A white lace cap trimmed with dark-red velvet bows rested on her hair, which was arranged over her temples in thick gray curls, framing her face, from which a pair of brown eyes greeted us with a bright, cordial glance. A white knit shawl covered her shoulders and a black silk dress fell around her in ample folds. At her side stood her younger sister, a canoness, who was paying her a few days' visit—an amiable lady with a very cheerful temperament. Ottilie von Goethe shared the violets with her. An easy conversation commenced. Frau von Goethe was very much interested in Herr Rohlfs' travels and Edward Vogel's fate, and said that one of her grandsons also cherished the same ardent, restless longing to see foreign countries and people. Then she spoke of her own journeys to Italy, "a long, long time ago," and of the charms of Venice and Verona. Underlying the words was a slight tone of regret that she was now not only bound to the spot, [pg 511] but also to the house, for invalids cannot venture out of doors to enjoy the spring until the first of May, and September drives them back into their quiet cell. "How often one longs for a distant horizon!" she sighed. My eyes wandered over the wilderness of ancient roofs upon which the windows of Goethe's house looked out, and discovered a small spot where the blue mountain-peaks appeared.

"Why, there is a distant horizon!" I involuntarily exclaimed.

"Ah, but even that is so near!" replied Frau von Goethe, smiling.

The room where we were, as well as the adjoining apartment into which we were allowed to peep, was full of relics of all kinds. Each article probably had its special history, from the paintings and drawings on the walls and the old-fashioned chests, chairs and tables, to the cups, vases, glasses, coverlets, and cushions arranged in the neatest order, some standing or lying around the apartment, others visible through the glass doors of a cupboard. But the most interesting object to me was the portrait of Goethe painted by Stieler. It has been made familiar to all by copies, and represents the poet, though at an advanced age, in the full possession of his physical strength. He holds in his hand a letter, from which he is in the act of looking up: the face is turned slightly aside. It seems as if the glance was one of greeting to some friend who is just entering. The colors are still wonderfully fresh and the expression bewitching. The large eyes beam with the fire of genius, Olympian majesty is enthroned upon the brow, and the curve of the lips possesses unequaled grace and beauty. A more aristocratic, noble mouth cannot be imagined. Who could have resisted the eloquence of those lips?

"This picture is not in the least idealized: it is a perfect likeness of my father-in-law," observed Frau von Goethe, and added that this portrait by Stieler was one of the best which had ever been painted. Not far from the superb portrait of the father appears the melancholy face of the son, August von Goethe, but I sought in vain for a picture of the bud so early broken, Goethe's granddaughter, the lovely Alma, who died in Vienna.

Fran von Goethe noticed with evident pleasure our eager interest in her surroundings, and showed us many a relic. As she spoke of the radiance of those long-past days which still gilded her quiet life, she seemed to me like the venerable figure in the tale of the "Seven Ravens," who relates marvelous stories to a listening group. Gradually a throng of shapes from the dim past entered the small room and gathered round the speaker, who suddenly became transfigured by the light of youth. She was again the poet's cheerful nurse, the fair flower of the household, the happy mother, the intellectual woman, the centre of a brilliant circle. I gazed as if at a buried world, which suddenly became once more alive: its inhabitants, clad in antique garments, walked past us, stared in astonishment, and seemed to say, We too were happy and beloved, feted and praised, the blue sky arched over us also, and we plucked violets and rejoiced in their fragrance till the deep, heavy sleep came.

Wait—only wait:

Soon thou too will rest.

It was a cold, feeble hand I respectfully kissed at parting, and I remained under its spell, lingering in the strange world conjured up by Ottilie von Goethe, till we stood before Goethe's pretty summer-house and the blue violets peeped at us from the turf. The windows stood wide open, the mild breeze swept gently in, and the sun also looked to see if everything was in order in "der alte Herr's" rooms. Far away between the trees gleamed the white pillars of the house, and the ground at our feet was covered with a blue carpet. It is said that nowhere in North Germany are there so many violets as in the vicinity of Weimar. And why? Because, as the people poetically say, "der alte Herr," whenever he went to walk, always filled his pockets with violet-seeds, and scattered them everywhere with lavish hands.


[pg 512]


Putting out of the question the Piazza of St. Peter's with Bernini's encircling colonnades, which is a special thing and unlike anything else in the world, the Piazza Navona is the handsomest piazza in Rome. It is situated in the thickest and busiest part of the city, far out of the usual haunts of the foreign residents, and nearly in the centre of that portion of the city which is enclosed between the Corso and the great curving sweep of the Tiber. It is handsome, not only from its great space and regular shape—a somewhat elongated double cube—but from its three fountains richly ornamented with statuary of no mean artistic excellence, and from the clean and convenient pavement which, intended for foot-passengers only, occupies all the space save a carriage-way close to the houses encircling it. This large extent of pavement, well provided with benches, and protected from the incursion of carriages, which make almost every other part of Rome more or less unsafe for all save the most wide-awake passengers, renders the Piazza Navona a playground specially adapted for nurses and their charges, who may generally be seen occupying it in considerable numbers. But on the occasion on which I wish to call the reader's attention to it the scene it presents is a very different and far more locally characteristic one.

We will suppose it to be about midnight on the fifth of January, the day preceding the well-known revel, now come to be mainly a children's festival, which English people call Twelfth Night and celebrate by the consumption of huge plumcakes and the drawing of lots for the offices of king and queen of the revels. The Italians call it the festival of the "Befana," the word being a readily-perceived corruption of "Epifania." Of course the sense and meaning of the original term have been entirely forgotten, and the Befana of the Italian populace is a sort of witch, mainly benevolent indeed, and especially friendly to children, to whom in the course of the night she brings presents, to be found by them in the morning in a stocking or a shoe or any other such fantastic hiding-place. But Italians are all more or less children of a larger growth, and at Rome especially the populace of all ages, ever ready for circenses in any form, make a point of "keeping" the festival of the Befana, who holds her high court on her own night in the Piazza Navona.

We will betake ourselves thither about midnight, as I have said. It is a bitterly cold night, and the stars are shining brilliantly in the clear, steely-looking sky—such a night as Rome has still occasionally at this time of year, and as she used to have more frequently when Horace spoke of incautious early risers getting nipped by the cold. One of the first things that strikes us as we make our way to the place of general rendezvous muffled in our thickest and heaviest cloaks and shawls is the apparent insensibility of this people to the cold. One would have expected it to be just the reverse. But whether it be that their organisms have stored up such a quantity of sunshine during the summer as enables them to defy the winter's cold, or whether their Southern blood runs more rapidly in their veins, it is certain that men, women and children—and especially the women—will for amusement's sake expose themselves to a degree of cold and inclement weather that a Northerner would shrink from.

For some days previously, in preparation for the annual revel, a series of temporary booths have by special permission of the municipality been erected around the piazza. In these will be sold every kind of children's toys—of the more ordinary sorts, that is to say; for Roman children have never yet been rendered fastidious in this respect by the artistic inventions that have been provided for more civilized but perhaps not happier childhood. There will also be a store of masks, colored dominoes, harlequins' dresses, monstrous and outrageous pasteboard noses, and, especially and above all, every kind of contrivance for making a noise. In this latter kind the peculiar and characteristic specialty of the day are straight tin trumpets some four or five feet in length. These are in [pg 513] universal request among young and old; and the general preference for them is justified by the peculiarly painful character of the note which they produce. It is a very loud and vibrating sound of the harshest possible quality. One feels when hearing it as if the French phrase of "skinning the ears" were not a metaphorical but a literal description of the result of listening to the sound. And when hundreds of blowers of these are wandering about the streets in all parts of the town, but especially in the neighborhood of the Piazza Navona, making night hideous with their braying, it may be imagined that those who go to their beds instead of doing homage to the Befana have not a very good time of it there.

It is a curious thing that the Italians, who are denizens of "the land of song," should take especial delight in mere abundance of discordant noise. Yet such is unquestionably the case. They are in their festive hours the most noisy people on earth. And the farther southward you go the more pronounced and marked is the propensity. You may hear boys and men imitating the most inharmonious and vociferous street-cries solely for the purpose of exercising their lungs and making a noise. The criers of the newspapers in the streets must take an enthusiastic delight in their trade; and I have heard boys in the street who had no papers to sell, and nothing on earth to do with the business, screaming out the names of the different papers at the hour of their distribution at the utmost stretch of their voices, and for no reason on earth save the pleasure of doing it—just as one cock begins to crow when he hears another.

The crowd on the piazza is so thick and close-packed that it is a difficult matter to move in any direction when you are once within it, but good-humor and courtesy are universal. An Italian crowd is always the best-behaved crowd in the world—partly, I take it, from the natural patience of the people, and the fact that nobody is ever in a hurry to move from the place in which he may happen to be; and partly as a consequence of the general sobriety. Even on such a night of saturnalia as this of the Befana very little drunkenness is to be seen. Although the crowd is so dense that every one's shoulder is closely pressed against that of his neighbor, there is a great deal of dancing going on. Here and there a ring is formed, carved out, as it were, from the solid mass of human beings, in which some half dozen couples are revolving more or less in time to the braying of a bagpipe or scraping of a fiddle, executing something which has more or less semblance to a waltz. The mode in which these rings are formed is at once simple and efficacious. Any couple who feel disposed to dance link themselves together and begin to bump themselves against their immediate neighbors. These accept the intimation with the most perfect good-humor, and assist in shoving back those behind them. A space is thus gained in the first instance barely enough for the original couple to gyrate in. But by violently and persistently dancing up against the foremost of the little ring the area is gradually enlarged: first one other couple and then another are moved to follow the example, and they in their turn assist in bumping out the limits of the ring till it has become some twenty feet or so in diameter. These impromptu ball-rooms rarely much exceed that size, but dozens of them may be found in the course of one's peregrinations around the large piazza. The occupants of some of them will be found to consist of town-bred Romans, and those of others of people from the country. There is no mistaking them one for the other, and the two elements rarely mingle together. The differences to be observed in the bearing and ways of the two are not a little amusing, and often suggestive of considerations not uninstructive to the sociologist. The probabilities are that the music in the case of the first mentioned of the above classes will be found to consist of a fiddle—in that of the latter, of a bagpipe, the old classical cornamusa, which has been the national instrument of the hill-country around the Campagna for it would be dangerous to say how [pg 514] many generations. In either case there seems to be an intimate connection between the music and the spirit of the public for which it is provided. The peasant of the Campagna and of the Latian, Alban and Sabine hills takes his pleasure, even that of the dance, as an impertinent Frenchman said of us Anglo-Saxons, moult tristement. That indescribable air of sadness which, as so many observers have concurred in noting, broods over the district which they inhabit seems to have communicated itself to the inmost nature and character of the populations. They are a stern, sad, sombre and silent race, for what I have said above of a tendency to noisiness and vociferation must be understood to apply to the town-populations only. Their dance is generally much slower than that of the city-folk. In these latter days increased communication has taught some of them to assimilate their dancing with more or less successful imitation to the waltz, but in many cases these parties of peasants may still be seen practicing the old dances, now wholly unknown in the city. But whether they are keeping to their old figures and methods or endeavoring to follow new ones, the difference in their bearing is equally striking. The dancing of peasants must necessarily be for the most part heavy and awkward, but despite this the men of the Campagna and the hills are frequently not without a certain dignity of bearing, and the women often, though perhaps not quite so frequently, far from devoid of grace. Especially may the former quality be observed if, as is likely, the dancers belong to the class of mounted herdsmen, who pass their lives on horseback, and whose exclusive duty it is to tend the herds of half-wild cattle that roam over the plains around Rome. These are the "butteri" of whom I wrote on a former occasion in these pages—the aristocracy of the Campagna. And it is likely that dancers on the Piazza Navona on a Befana night should belong to this class, for the Campagna shepherd is probably too poor, too abject and too little civilized to indulge in any such pastime.

Little of either grace or dignity will be observed in the Terpsichorean efforts of the Roman plebs of the present day. Lightness, brio, enjoyment and an infinite amount of "go" may be seen, and plenty of laughter heard, and "lazzi"—sallies more or less imbued with wit, or at least fun, and more or less repeatable to ears polite. But there is a continual tendency in the dancing to pass into horse-play and romping which would not be observed among the peasantry. In a word, there is a touch of blackguardism in the city circles, which phase could not with any justice or propriety be applied to the country parties.

But it is time to go home. The moon is waning: suadentque cadentia sidera somnum, if only there were any hope of being able to be persuaded by their reasonable suggestions. But truly the town seems to afford little hope of it. We make our way out of the crowd with some difficulty and more patience, and are sensible of a colder nip in the January night-air as we emerge from it into the neighboring streets. But even there, though the racket gradually becomes less as we leave the piazza behind us, there is in every street the braying of those abominable tin trumpets, and we shall probably turn wearily in our beds at three or four in the morning and thank Heaven that the Befana visits us but once a year.



The stage of Paris has long been conceded to be the first in the world. In France the player is not only born—he must be made. Before the embryo performer achieves the honors of a public début he has been trained in the classes of the Conservatoire to declaim the verse of Racine and to lend due point and piquancy to the prose of Molière. He is taught to tread in the well-beaten path of French dramatic art, fenced in and hedged around with sacred traditions. If he attempts to embody any one of the characters of the classic drama, every tone, every gesture, every peculiarity of make-up, every shade and style in his costume, is prescribed to [pg 515] him beforehand. Originality of treatment and of conception is above all things to be avoided. So spoke Molière, so looked Lekain, so stepped Talma; therefore all the succeeding generations of players must so speak and look and walk. Let us imagine the process transferred to our English stage—the shades of Burbage and Betterton prescribing how Hamlet and Richard III. should be played—the manners of the seventeenth century forcibly transferred to our modern stage. The process would be intolerable. Worse still, it would have the effect on our comparatively undramatic race of crushing out every spark of originality and of wholly hindering the development of histrionic talent. With the French such results are happily, to a certain extent, impossible. There is scarcely any French man or woman of ordinary intelligence who does not possess sufficient capacity for acting to be capable of being trained into a very fair performer. The preponderance of beautiful women on the French stage above those to be found in other stations of life may be accounted for on the ground that any young girl of the lower classes possessing extraordinary beauty and ordinary intelligence can readily, from the bent of her national characteristics, be trained into an actress. But while the high-comedy theatres and those of the melodrama flourish, there can be no doubt but that the highest type of acting finds no chance for development in France. The actor who possesses one spark of genius soon escapes from the galling fetters of classicism and tradition, and takes refuge in comedy or in melodrama. Thus did Frédéric Lemaître in his prime, and thus, too, in later days, did the accomplished and brilliant Lafontaine.

From these causes, or from others of a kindred nature, the French tragic stage has within our generation possessed no actor of commanding genius. One actress indeed adorned it for a few brief years—the great Rachel. But she, strange and unnatural production of unnatural art, was a phenomenon, and one not likely to be soon reproduced. The art of the Comédie Française is to-day inimitable. Like Thalberg's playing, it is the very apotheosis of the mechanical. There talent is trained and cut and trimmed into one set fashion, till the very magnitude of the work becomes imposing, as the gardens of Le Nôtre in their grand extent almost console the spectator for the absence of virgin forests and of free-gushing streams. But could the forest be brought side by side with the parterre, could Niagara pour its emerald floods or Trenton its amber cascades side by side with the Fountain of Latona or the Great Basin of Neptune, Nature, terrible in her grandeur, would rule supreme. Such has been the comparison afforded by the appearance of Ernesto Rossi on the Parisian stage. It was Shakespeare and genius coming into direct competition with perfectly-trained talent and with Racine.

Early last October a modest announcement was made that Signor Rossi would give two performances at the Salle Ventadour, one of them to be for the benefit of the sufferers by the Southern inundations. Othello was the play selected for both occasions. The first night arrived. The unlucky opera-house, shorn of its ancient popularity, was not half filled. Public curiosity was not specially aroused. Nobody cared particularly to see an Italian actor perform in a translation of a play by an English dramatist. Of the scanty audience present, fully one-half were Italians, and the rest were mostly English, lured thither by the desire of comparing the new actor with his great rival, Salvini. There was a sprinkling of Americans and a scanty representation of the Parisian public.

When Othello came upon the stage the foreign actor received but a cool and unenthusiastic greeting. His appearance was a disappointment to those familiar with the majestic bearing and picturesque garb of Salvini. His dress was unbecoming, and the dusky tint of his stage complexion accorded ill with his blue eyes. Then, too, his conception of the character jarred on the ideas of those who had seen the other great Italian actor. It was hard to dethrone the majestic [pg 516] and princely Moor, the stately general of Salvini's conception, to give place to the frank, free-hearted soldier, intoxicated with the gladness of successful wooing, that Rossi brings before us. Certain melodramatic points, also, in the earlier acts, such as the "Ha!" wherewith Rossi with upraised arms starts from Desdemona when Brabantio reminds him

"She has deceived her father, and may thee,"

seemed exaggerated and out of place. In the scenes with Iago he equaled Salvini, yet did not in any one point surpass him. Nor did he in any way imitate him. The fury of the two Othellos is widely different. Salvini is the fiercer, for Rossi's rage has a background of intensest suffering. One is an enraged tiger, the other a wounded lion. Both are maddened—the one with wrath, the other with pain. But in the last act, with the unutterable anguish of its closing scenes—the swift remorse, the unavailing agony of that noble nature, too late undeceived, the wild, pathetic tenderness wherewith Othello clasped the dead Desdemona to his heart, smoothing back her loosened tresses with an inarticulate cry of almost superhuman love and woe—the horror of the catastrophe was all swallowed up in a sympathy whose pain was wellnigh too great to be aroused by mimic despair. The fall of the curtain was greeted with a tempest of applause. Men sprang to their feet and wildly waved their hats in the air. Shouts of "Bravo, Rossi!" and "Vive Rossi!" arose on all sides. Ladies stood up in the boxes waving their handkerchiefs, and every hand and throat joined in the universal uproar. Before noon the next day every seat in the house was engaged for the second representation. The great actors of the French stage came to study the acting of this new genius who had so suddenly made his appearance in their midst. To this sudden success succeeded the announcement of a prolonged engagement, the failing health of the younger Rossi having decided his father to relinquish all immediate idea of an American tour.

The second character that Rossi assumed was Hamlet, and in this he achieved the greatest success of his Parisian engagement. The opera of Thomas had rendered the public familiar with the personage of the hero, and the magnates of the Grand Opera came to the Salle Ventadour to study this new and forcible presentment of the baritone prince, who wails and warbles through the operatic travesty of Shakespeare's masterpiece. That the impersonation will prove wholly acceptable to all Shakespearian critics in England or America is extremely doubtful. For the Hamlet of Rossi is mad—undeniably, unmistakably mad—from the moment of his interview with the Ghost. But once accept that view, and the characterization stands unrivaled upon our modern stage. Nothing can be imagined at once more powerful or more pathetic than that picture of a "noble mind o'erthrown," alternating between crushed, hopeless misery and wild excitement—thirsting for the rest and peace that only death can bestow, yet shrinking from the fearful leap into the dim unknown beyond the grave. The scene with the Queen is inimitably grand. One feels that the entrance of the Ghost comes only in time to stay the frenzied hand, and then follows the swift revulsion when Hamlet, melting into tenderest pathos, kneels at his mother's feet to beseech her to repent—a mood that changes anew to frenzy when his wild wandering thoughts are turned toward the King. It is only in the last scene of the play that the approach of death scatters the clouds that have so long obscured the grief-tortured brain. Nothing can be imagined finer or more picturesque than this closing scene. On the raised daïs in the centre of the stage, and on the throne from which the King has been hurled, the dying prince, conqueror and sovereign in this last supreme moment, dominates the scene of death and carnage, triumphant over all, even in the clutches of his own relentless doom.

As the Hamlet of Rossi is unmistakably mad, so his Macbeth is an undeniable craven and criminal. I can compare this personation to nothing so [pg 517] much as to that of a man haunted by a fiend. For the steps of Macbeth are dogged ever by an unseen devil—namely, his own evil yet coward nature. He is wicked and he is afraid. The whole physique of Rossi in the scene in the first act where the king heaps favors and commendations on his valiant warrior was eloquent of conscious guilt: the constrained attitude, the shifting, uneasy glance, told, louder than words, of a wicked purpose and a stinging conscience. From the moment of the murder the wretched thane lives in a perpetual atmosphere of fear. He is afraid of everything—first of his own unwashed hands, and next of the dead king; then of Banquo and of Banquo's ghost; and finally he is afraid of all the world. It is only at the last that the mere physical courage of the soldier reasserts itself, and Macbeth, driven to bay by Fate, fights with the fierce energy of despair.

As to Rossi's Lear, it is not to be criticised. Words fail when the heartstrings are thrilled to trembling and to tears. The pathos of Lear's recognition of Cordelia was past the power of words to describe. He stands at first gazing in vague bewilderment at the face of his child, then into the darkened and troubled gaze steals anew the light of reason and of recognition: unutterable sorrow, inexpressible remorse, sweep across the quivering features, and with an inarticulate sob Lear would fain sink on his knees at his wronged daughter's feet to pray for pardon. That people rose and left the house in a very passion of tears is the fittest criticism that can be bestowed upon this personation.

The list of the Shakesperian characters closed with Romeo. Rossi was the divinest of lovers, in spite of his forty years and his stalwart proportions, and the balcony scene was an exquisite love-duet that needed not the aid of music to lend it sweetness. But in the Italian version the play was so cut and garbled that there could be little pleasure in listening to it for any one familiar with the original.

Outside of his Shakespearian répertoire, Rossi has appeared in only two plays—the Kean of the elder Dumas, and Nero, a tragedy by Signer Cosso, The first, originally written for Lemaître, is an ill-constructed, improbable melodrama. But it contains one grand scene—namely, that where Kean, whilst playing Hamlet, goes mad upon the stage; and this scene Rossi renders superbly. As to Nero, it is marvelous to witness the complete eclipse of the refined, accomplished gentleman and intellectual actor behind the brutal physiognomy of the wicked emperor. It is Hamlet transformed into a prize-fighter.

In person, Signor Rossi is less strikingly handsome than is his rival, Salvini, but he possesses a singularly attractive and pleasing countenance. He is a Piedmontese, blue-eyed and fair-complexioned, with chestnut hair, the abundant locks of which are just touched with gray. He is tall and finely proportioned, with the chest of a Hercules and the hands and feet of a duchess. Off the stage he is peculiarly pleasing in manner, and is said to be a noble-hearted and generous gentleman, as well as an amiable and genial companion, singularly free from conceit and delighting in his art.



We do not remember to have seen in the various notices relative to the late Bishop Connop Thirlwall, the well-known historian, any mention of his precocity, which must have been almost without a parallel. Thirlwall came of a long line of clergymen. His father was chaplain to Dr. Percy (Percy's Reliques), bishop of Dromore, and in 1809 he published some specimens of the early genius of his son under the title of "Primitiæ; or, Essays and Poems on Various Subjects, Religious, Moral and Entertaining. By Connop Thirlwall, eleven years of age. Dedicated by permission to the Bishop of Dromore." In the preface it is stated that at three years old Connop read English so well that he was taught Latin, and at four read Greek with an ease and fluency that astonished all who heard him. An accidental circumstance revealed his talent for composition when he was seven. [pg 518] Mrs. Thirlwall told her elder son, in her husband's absence, to write out his thoughts on a certain subject. Connop asked leave to do the same, and produced to her astonishment the following: "How uncertain is life! for no man can tell in what hour he shall leave the world. What numbers are snatched away in the bloom of youth, and turn the fine expectation of parents into sorrow! All the promising pleasures of this life will fade, and we shall be buried in the dust. God takes away a good prince from his subjects only to transplant him into everlasting joy in heaven. A good man is not dispirited by death, for it only takes him away that he may feel the pleasures of a better world. Death comes unawares, but never takes virtue with it. Edward VI. died in his minority, and disappointed his subjects, to whom he had promised a happy reign." These reflections were probably suggested by some sermon the boy had heard, but the composition is an extraordinary piece of work at such an age.

His effusions are on various themes, and comprise quite a pretty little poem, written when he was eleven, on Tintern Abbey. But perhaps the most remarkable circumstance of all is that this youthful prodigy lived to amply fulfill the promise of his youth, and proved as sagacious and moderate in the use of knowledge as he was marvelous in his powers of acquiring it. There is a remarkable tribute to these powers in John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, where he says: "The speaker with whom I was most struck, though I dissented from nearly every word he said, was Thirlwall, the historian, since bishop of St. David's, then a chancery barrister, unknown except by a high reputation for eloquence acquired at the Cambridge Union. His speech was in answer to one of mine. Before he had uttered ten sentences I set him down as the best speaker I had ever heard, and I have never since heard any one whom I placed above him."


A few months ago England, more especially the part thereof contiguous to royal Windsor, was thrown into consternation by the report that a box had been discovered, sunk just below water-mark in the Thames, attached by a string to a tree, and containing a number of keys, which were believed to belong to doors leading to the royal jewel-coffers. The nine days' wonder which this intelligence, naturally enough, produced, has since had a curious explanation. They were not keys of the royal apartments at all, but Eton keys, the fruits of the kleptic propensities of an unfortunate Eton boy, who—like a very distinguished and noble member of Mr. Disraeli's cabinet, who is said even now not to be able to resist the temptation offered at cabinet councils by "Dizzy's" green kid gloves—had already paid the penalty for similar offences by being sent away. A most extraordinary instance of this propensity occurred a few years ago at a very wealthy nobleman's house in the north of England. During a visit there a lady's diamonds disappeared. There was great and general consternation, and the detective police were summoned from London. The jewels were subsequently discovered in a closet attached to the noble host's dressing-room.

[pg 519]


Round my House: Notes of Rural Life in France in Peace and War. By Philip Gilbert Hamerton. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

The time has at last come when Englishmen and Americans seem disposed to study the character of the French people with some care and to judge it with impartiality. The overthrow of its military power did less to lower the nation in the eyes of foreigners than its subsequent course has done to raise it; and now that it is fairly entering on a new career in a mood and under auspices that cannot but awaken the strongest hopes, we have probably seen the last of the typical Frenchman of the Anglo-Saxon imagination—a being capable of the most frantic actions and incapable of a serious thought, a compound of frivolity and ferocity, the fit subject and facile instrument of a despotism that knew how to gratify his vanity while restraining his mad ebullitions. Among the excuses that might be offered for such misconceptions is the dearth of information in the literature of France itself in regard to the life and habits of the general mass of the population. In these days it is to novels that we chiefly go for pictures of character and manners, and French novels are almost exclusively devoted to pictures of Parisian manners. Balzac, it is true, has given us delineations of provincial life; but the delineations of Balzac are often more enigmatical than the problems of real life, and even if we could always accept the portraitures they give us as undistorted, they generally presuppose a knowledge on the part of the reader on those points on which the foreigner is most apt to be ignorant. In any case, we shall be best instructed by a writer who both understands our lack and is able to supply it, and these qualifications, with others scarcely less essential, Mr. Hamerton has brought to his task. He has thoroughly familiarized himself with French usages, but he has not lost his sense of the difference between them and those of his own land, and of the consequent necessity for explaining as well as describing, and of tracing peculiarities to their source. If he is free from the common prejudices of the foreign observer, he has not adopted the passions or the partialities of the native. He can write with fairness of different classes and factions, and can discriminate between ordinary impulses and actions and those that have their origin in strong excitement. Finally, he neither overloads us with facts and statistics nor seeks to amuse us with fancies or caricatures. He is always sober and always agreeable.

The matter of this volume was collected during a fixed residence of several years in one of the central provinces of France. No doubt Mr. Hamerton had a previous acquaintance with the country and with its language far exceeding that of the mere tourist, and his wife, it appears, is a Frenchwoman, the daughter of an ex-préfet. But he makes few allusions to any former experiences, and draws no comparisons between the conditions of life or the characteristics of the people in different provinces. This is perhaps to be considered a defect in the book, though it might not have possessed the same attractiveness had its scope been wider. It is an advantage, too, that the locality was not one which excites curiosity by its strongly marked features or abnormal types. Travelers often seem to imagine that they have only to tell us about Brittany or Gascony to win our interest, whereas it is precisely such regions that have the least novelty for us, just as the scenery of the Scottish Highlands has been made more familiar to Americans than that of almost any other part of Britain. Mr. Hamerton's house, as he gives us clearly to understand, though he suppresses names, was in the neighborhood of Autun. The situation was a strictly rural one, but with easy access to the town and the feasibility of reaching Paris, Lyons or Geneva in a night's journey by rail. It had, he writes, "one very valuable characteristic in great perfection—namely, variety. There was nothing in it very striking at first sight, but we had a little of everything." It was in an elevated plain about fifteen miles in diameter and nearly circular, girt by a circus of hills rising fifteen hundred feet above the general level. A trout stream ran through the property. There were pretty estates around of about two hundred acres each, with houses in general of modest dimensions and architecture, though occasionally aspiring to the dignity of châteaux. Roman and mediæval remains, with [pg 520] architecture of different periods, were to be found in the city, as well as a public library and art-gallery, cafés and the inevitable cercle. The flora, owing to the diversities of elevation, was varied, and while vineyards clothed the foot of the slopes and gigantic old chestnuts looked down on them from above, the vegetation of the hill-tops was that of Lancashire or Scotland. It follows, of course, that the pursuits and habits of the population were correspondingly various, and there was ample opportunity for studying the different classes of society, from the noblesse to the peasants. The results of this study are presented, not in the form of labored analyses, but in easy and flowing sketches, sometimes in the form of narrative, always full of illustrative details, and winning without much discussion or argument a ready assent to the author's conclusions. Many statements in the book will, of course, not be new to generally well-informed readers, but it is not often that they come with the same force and freshness from direct observation, and still more rarely is their relation to each other or their bearing on the subject to which they relate so clearly and correctly indicated. Among the points on which Mr. Hamerton has thus thrown a stronger light are the characteristics and position of French ladies, divided, "in this part of the world," he writes, "into two distinct classes: the home women and the visiting women—les femmes d'intérieur, and les femmes du monde; the exact theory of the mariage de convenance, which is popularly but wrongly considered as based on mere mercenary motives; and the mental condition of the peasant, with his natural quickness of intellect and his stupendous ignorance, his adherence to tradition and ingrained superstitiousness, and his suspicion of the nobles and tendency to emancipate himself from clerical influence. It is France in a state of transition that Mr. Hamerton paints, and his anticipations have already to some extent been justified by events. "My hope for France is," he says, "that a system of regularly-working representative government may be the final result of the long and eventful revolution, and that this form of government may give the country certain measures which it very greatly needs. A thorough system of national education is one of them, a real religious equality is another. These would never be conceded by a French monarchy of any type with which past experience has made the country familiar.... The only chance of real representation lies in the Republic."

Books Received.

Improved Diary, or Marginal Index-Book of Daily Record: a Diary provided with Marginal Indices so arranged that any day of the year may be referred to at once, and the various subject-matters recorded in it may be arranged for ready reference, together with Calendars, Interest Table, etc. Devised and arranged by M.N. Lovell. Published exclusively by the Erie Publishing Co., Erie, Pa.

The Review of Gen. Sherman's Memoirs. Examined Chiefly in the light of its own Evidence. By C.W. Moulton. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co.

The Chevalier Casse-Cou: The Search for Ancestors. Translated from the French original. By Thomas Picton. New York: R.M. De Witt.

Proceedings of American Association for the Cure of Inebriates, held at Hartford, Conn., Sept. 28, 1875. Baltimore: Wm. K. Boyle & Sons.

Brief Biographies. Vol. II. English Radical Leaders. By R.J. Hinton. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Foot Notes; or, Walking as a Fine Art. By Alfred Barren. Wallingford, Conn.: Wallingford Printing Co.

Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education. No. 7. Washington: Government Printing-office.

In Doors and Out; or, Views from the Chimney-corner. By Oliver Optic. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Among my Books. (Second Series.) By Jas. Russell Lowell. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co.

The Reading Club and Handy Speaker, No. 3. By George M. Baker. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Her Dearest Foe. (Leisure-Hour Series.) By Mrs Alexander. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Pebbles from Old Pathways. By Minnie Ward Patterson. Chicago: C.J. Burroughs & Co.

Bridge and Tunnel Centres. By John B. McMaster. New York: D. Van Nostrand.

Safety Valves. By Richard H. Buel, C.E. New York: D. Van Nostrand.

Guido and Lita. By the Marquis of Lorne. New York: Macmillan & Co.

The Asbury Twins. By Sophie May. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Sea-Weed and Sand: Poems. By Ben Wood Davis.

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